Sunday, April 01, 2007


Sill more trouble is roiling air travel in Brazil, as the investigation into the Sept. 29 mid-air collision drags on -- long after everybody knows what caused the horrific accident. Air-traffic controllers -- most of them military personnel -- keep sending two clear messages: 1. The air traffic control system that Brazil brashly insisted was state-of-the-art is in fact broken down, with chronically malfunctioning radar and other equipment, operated by underpaid and overworked controllers and, 2. Though all evidence known points to a series of gross errors in air-traffic control as the cause of the Sept. 29 crash over the Amazon that killed 154, the controllers want the authorities to know that they will shut the system down if blame comes their way. And so the two American pilots of the business jet that survived the collision remain on the spot.


Air Controller's Mutiny in Brazil Shuts All Airports in the Country

By Émerson Luiz

Saturday, 31 March 2007

“Passengers stuck in Brazilian airports wait for end of negotiations An unprecedented rebellion by Brazil's air traffic controllers, most of them military, paralyzed this Friday, March 30, all 49 commercial airports in the country. According to Infraero, Brazil's airport authority, no plane was being allowed to take off. The air control towers were only letting incoming air traffic.

“The rebellious flight controllers told the Cindacta-1 (Brazilian capital Brasília central control tower) brass that their strike would continue and all incoming and outgoing traffic would stop entirely until the authorities negotiated with them. The work stoppage started at 6:44 pm in Brasília. … The conrollers’ action left thousands of passengers stranded in airports.

"The Military Public Prosecutor's Office had already issued arrest orders against 18 flight controllers, who were charged with mutiny. The Justice Military prosecutor, Ione de Souza Cruz, was on her way to make the arrests when came word that Lula had decided that they should negotiate with the insubordinate controllers.

"Flying in Brazil has been problematic since September 29 when a Boeing 737 collided with a Legacy executive jet killing all 154 passengers and crew aboard the Boeing over the Amazon rainforest. Since then Brazil has faced several chaotic situations in the airports during times of increased air traffic like All Souls Day holiday, Christmas and Carnaval.

"Defense Minister, Waldir Pires, said Friday afternoon that a democratic state could not become hostage of anybody. "There is no negotiation with the controllers," he stated at the time.

My comment: Good to see Wonderful Waldir is still making statements that are promptly contradicted.


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