Airports: the headache of the 2014 World Cup

Airports: the headache of the 2014 World Cup
 
The Brazilian government representative on the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the 2014 World Cup, Luis Fernandes, said that "the big problem" for the tournament will be "the quality of airports", whose renovations will be ready in 2018. He made the comments in an interview with foreign journalists in Recife.
 
Fernandes, who is also the Minister of Sports executive secretary, said however that the teams of the 32 countries participating in the tournament and the authorities may use military airports, as well as civilian airports.

The chief also said that the World Cup-2014 will offer great opportunities for development in Brazil, and ensured that the host country will organize "an excellent" World Cup with a "Brazilian touch."

Will hosting the World Cup benefit Brazil?

FIFA must ensure the success of the event but we (the government) must also ensure that this event will serve for the development of the country. This is why Brazil chose to have twelve host cities and not just eight. All are touristic places that will benefit from the improvements in infrastructure (ports, airports, urban mobility, telecommunications). The federal government will invest about 30.000 million reales ($15 billion) for the World Cup and the Confederations Cup that precedes it (from June 15 to 30). These events project the country internationally. Brazil wants to remain a major market for events and wants her tourism to take off. This will attract investment. GDP is expected to rise 0.5% per year until 2018 with these sporting events (including the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro).  

Will all be ready on time?

The main thing is the World Cup stadiums. Six will be ready for the Confederations Cup in June. But there have been delays, only two stadiums were ready in December, which was the initial deadline, and the others will be ready in April. Now, the 'test events' (organized by FIFA to make sure that everything works fine in the stadiums) will have to be done on all the stadiums at the same time and not in stages but all tests and adjustments will be made​​. The same will happen in 2014. Every six months we take stock.  

The big problem is the quality of the airports. The plan to modernize the airports lasts until 2018. But for 2014 they will be functioning and military airports will also be used by the authorities and also as a parking lot for aircraft. The foreign teams will be able to make use of civilian or military airports.

How is the relationship with FIFA?

We have been very firm in negotiations with FIFA but we had to stay open to ideas because we want to ensure a successful event. The government should be represented in the Organizing Committee for the World Cup (COL). The relationship improved a lot and FIFA has a partner within the government. We also managed to secure tickets to stadiums with a 50% reduction for those over 60 years of age as required by Brazilian law.

 

By Claire DE OLIVEIRA/AFP

Photo: AFP

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