News / Americas

Rio Fog Strands World Cup Fans on Game Day

A man walks his dog on the beach during the 2014 soccer World Cup in Fotaleza, Brazil, June 17, 2014.
A man walks his dog on the beach during the 2014 soccer World Cup in Fotaleza, Brazil, June 17, 2014.
Reuters
Fog over Rio de Janeiro's Guanabara Bay on Tuesday stranded hundreds of fans trying to catch Brazil's second match of the World Cup in the soccer tournament's worst travel headache so far.

The closures rippled through Brazil's domestic networks, underscoring
 the World Cup's dependence on smooth air travel as fans and teams bounce between 12 host cities sprawled across the world's fifth-largest country in terms of area.

The bad weather closed Rio's Santos Dumont airport for hours in the early morning, canceling over one-third of departures from the downtown domestic hub and from Sao Paulo's Congonhas airport at the other end of Brazil's busiest route.

"You can't blame the organizers for fog, but it really is a letdown,'' said U.S. expatriate Michael Hayden. His brother's flight from Chicago to Rio was also diverted, ruining their chances of catching an afternoon game together.

Santos Dumont reopened as the morning fog burned off, but tight bookings meant 27 of 63 departures had been canceled by 11:00 a.m. Foul weather in the southern city of Curitiba also delayed 50 percent of flights, according to Infraero, the state airport operator.

 The closures rippled throughout Brazil's domestic networks, underscoring the World Cup's dependence on smooth air travel as fans and teams bounce between the 12 host cities sprawled across the world's fifth-largest country by area.

Airlines have warned a drop in business travel during the month-long tournament may hurt revenue, while the scrutiny of traveling fans could put a harsh spotlight on an industry that already suffers delays under the best of conditions.

"I don't know who's going to win the games, but the airlines are going to lose with the World Cup,'' said Enrique Cueto, chief executive officer of LATAM Airlines, at an industry event in March.

"If you do things right with operations, you can wind up with a draw,'' he said. "You get it wrong, and you don't get to a game on time and you'll soon see what you get.''

Outrage was easy to find among the hundreds of travelers who packed waiting areas at Santos Dumont. Sofiane Bekhe, an Algerian stuck in Rio while his team warmed up to play Belgium, seethed at the idea of missing the one match for which he had tickets.

"I paid 6,000 euros ($8,200) to come to Brazil and I can't see
 the game,'' said Bekhe, who lives in Paris. "I've been in Brazil three days and I just want to go home.''

President Dilma Rousseff made it a priority to overhaul old and overcrowded airports before the tournament. A handful of concessions attracted millions in private investments, but most airports are still run by Infraero, which finished few of the renovations promised in host cities before the Cup.

No major work was planned at Santos Dumont and Congonhas, both of which are hemmed in by their central locations in Rio and Sao Paulo, at the center of domestic networks run by Gol Linhas Aereas SA and TAM, the local unit of Latam Airlines Group SA. 

Click here to check out our special World Cup site
 
  • Germany's Toni Kroos (L) and Portugal's Joao Moutinho fight for the ball during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match at the Fonte Nova arena in Salvador, Brazil, June 16, 2014.
  • Portugal's Hugo Almeida fights for the ball with Germany's Mats Hummels during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match at the Fonte Nova arena in Salvador, June 16, 2014.
  • Germany's Thomas Mueller (L) shoots to score against Portugal for his hat-trick during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match at the Fonte Nova arena in Salvador, June 16, 2014. 
  • Nigeria's Juwon Oshaniwa (L) jumps for the ball with Iran's Reza Ghoochannejhad during their 2014 World Cup Group F soccer match at the Baixada arena in Curitiba, June 16, 2014.
  • Iran's goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi (L) makes a save on Nigeria's Joseph Yobo during their 2014 World Cup Group F soccer match at the Baixada arena in Curitiba, June 16, 2014.
  • A Ghana fan waits for the 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match between Ghana and the U.S. at the Dunas arena in Natal, June 16, 2014.
  • Clint Dempsey of the U.S. celebrates after scoring their first goal during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match against Ghana at the Dunas arena in Natal, June 16, 2014.
  • U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his granddaughter Naomi watch their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match against Ghana at the Dunas arena in Natal, June 16, 2014. 
  • Ghana's Andre Ayew scores a goal during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal, June 16, 2014.
  • Team U.S.A celebrate during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match against Ghana at the Dunas arena in Natal, June 16, 2014.
  • Fans cheer after the U.S. scored a second goal during the 2014 Brazil World Cup Group G soccer match between Ghana and the U.S. at a viewing party in Hermosa Beach, California, June 16, 2014.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month
More

Pope's Relatives Killed in Argentina Car Crash

Family of pontiff's nephew killed after car plows into truck
More

Ex-Guatemalan Drug Kingpin Pleads Guilty to US Charges

Waldemar Lorenzana Lima, linked by authorities to Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel, pleaded guilty to conspiring to import more than 450 kilograms of Colombian cocaine into US
More

Landmark Brazil Poll Brings Good News for Rousseff

Facing tough road to re-election, Rousseff has seen sharp recovery in approval ratings, voter support
More

Video Mexico Opens Energy Sector, but Investors May Hesitate

Mexican President Pena Nieto has signed into law changes designed to open it to private investment, though foreign companies are taking cautious approach
More

Video Obama Expected to Take Executive Action on Undocumented Immigrants

Congress has adjourned for a five-week recess without boosting federal funds to house and process child migrants - or reforming US immigration law
More