"We can expect that by (Sunday) things will get better and passengers will be able to fly with tranquility." -- Brazil's President Luiz Inacio ("Lucky") Lula da Silva, speaking last week about the months' long air-travel chaos that followed the Sept. 29 mid-air collision in Brazil.
"These problems won't occur again." -- Milton Zuanazzi, head of the Brazil civil aviation agency, speaking last week on the same subject.
Both dignitaries seem to be vying with the Defense Minister, Wonderful Waldir Pires, (who ridiculously claimed the crash was caused by American pilots doing trick maneuvers in the Amazon skies and denounced me as "ignorant" and "impertinent" for saying the business jet was flying level and utterly routinely when hit) for the award for the most asinine statements of 2006.
From the A.P.:
"SAO PAULO -- Brazilian travelers incensed about an overbooked flight stormed a runway Wednesday to prevent a commercial jet from taking off, and a tourism industry leader said two months of flight delays have been a "disaster" for tourism. ... The protest delayed the flight for about two hours and was a repeat of incidents when Brazilians invaded runways at several airports plagued by delays just before Christmas. ..."
[MY NOTE: The delays began shortly after the Sept. 29 mid-air collision between a Gol Airlines 737 and an American business jet that left 154 dead. The delays were caused by work-to-rule protests by air traffic controlers warning authorities not to place blame for the accident on where it belongs -- on air traffic control. Instead, the two American pilots of the business jet have been criminally accused in a cobbled-together charge that no pilot I know thinks has the slightest merit.]