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

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    In Colombia, Abortion Is Legal but Denied to Many Women, Advocates Say

    Colombia, a nation of 48 million people, allows abortion in cases of rape, incest, fetal malformation, if the fetus is at risk and if the health, both physical and mental, of the mother is at risk

    Colombia Says 2 More Journalists Missing in Rough Area

    Journalists missing in region where security forces are already carrying out massive search for prominent Spanish journalist, President Juan Manuel Santos said Tuesday

    Cuba to Legalize Small, Medium-sized Private Businesses

    Move could significantly expand space allowed for private enterprise in one of world's last communist countries

    Coca Cola to Halt Some Production in Venezuela

    Sugar shortages and a deep recession have been forcing production shutdowns across the country

    Recording Allegedly Shows Minister Plotting Against Brazil's Rousseff

    Planning Minister Romero Jucá, who will step down temporarily, denies allegation, says words in published transcript of tape were taken out of context

    Mercury Poisoning Prompts Peru to Declare State of Emergency in Amazon

    People, rivers and fish poisoned; government blames illegal gold mining