Ever since the terrible mid-air collision over the Amazon last year, the conditions of air travel in Brazil are getting beyond a joke. Another page was added yesterday to the lenghty book of incompetence and mismanagement in the running of air traffic transportation in Brazil. A failure on the software used by Air Traffic Control systems [this, I should point out, is the official explanation, the truth might well be quite different] brought the main Brazilian airports to a standstill. The authorities tell us it could have been much worse, had the failure happened on a day other than Sunday.
Add to the software failure the fact that Congonhas airport in São Paulo, the busiest airport in the country, ceased operations for two hours due to the rain, and you will have the perfect recipe for chaos. And before you ask me, yes, the busiest airport in Brazil shuts down every time more than 3 mm of rain accumulate on the rainway. I am not joking. Decades of underfunding, lack of maintenance and the ever important embezzlement that permeates all aspects of public investment in Brazil have led to a situation in which a runway can’t absorb even moderate rainfall.
Piece of advice for anyone coming to Brazil: do allow extra time for connecting flights. And bring a good book with you.