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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Video Obama: US to Continue Push for Democracy, Rights in Cuba

A White House statement said although past US policy toward Cuba is 'rooted in the best of intentions, it has had little effect'
More

US-Cuba Move Ends Decades of Island's Isolation

Cuban revolution, outreach to Soviets set off years of antipathy between Washington, Havana
More

Colombia's FARC Rebels Declare Conditional Unlimited Ceasefire

Group says it is also demanding high-profile certification of its ceasefire through the UN, Red Cross or regional intergovernmental organization
More

American Lawmakers, Others Split on US-Cuba Moves

Some praise approach; Florida Senator Rubio denounces ‘victory for oppressive Cuban government’
More

An Elated Alan Gross: 'It's Good to be Home'

'This is a game changer,' newly-freed political prisoner tells audience, referring to his release and the US policy shift toward Cuba
More

Over $6 Trillion Lost to Illicit Flows

Study says developing nations hurt by corruption, tax evasion
More