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Brazilian Airline Cancels, Diverts 90 Flights for Rain


Brazil's TAM Airlines has canceled or diverted at least 90 flights at Sao Paolo's domestic airport because of rain, which was a factor in a deadly plane crash at the airport last week.

The measure stranded or delayed hundreds of travelers at the Congonhas airport, the latest in a series of problems for air travel in a nation that has coped with two large-scale air disasters in less than a year.

In September, 154 people aboard an airliner died in the Amazon jungle after their Boeing 737 collided with a small private plane. The passengers aboard the private plane survived.

Last Tuesday, at least 189 people died at Congonhas airport when a TAM Airlines Airbus A320 ran off a runway slippery with rain, hit a building and burned, killing everyone aboard and several people on the ground.

Saturday, a two-hour radar outage forced a number of flight delays and cancellations, laying the groundwork for more traveler frustration Tuesday.

The series of issues has caused unrest among Brazil's air traffic controllers and others in the industry, and led to calls for improvement in Brazil's air safety record. Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva last week announced some emergency safety measures, such as cutting the number of flights to Congonhas airport, until more permanent improvements can be put in place.