Infraero, the Brazilian national airport authority, has launched a BRL 3.8 billion (US$ 2.4 billion) investment plan to upgrade the country’s airport infrastructure by 2010.

The announcement follows within 48 hours of comments made by the vice president of the national general aviation authority, Adalberto Febeliano, who felt that the existing national airport infrastructure would collapse under the demands of the 2014 Football World Cup.

“The way things are now, we will not be able to host the world cup in 2014,” said Mr. Febeliano of the current state of Brazilian airports.

Mr Febeliano expects 500000 tourists to follow the matches, with each taking between six and 14 internal flights. Passenger volumes of this order would double the number of people using Brazil’s airports over current levels.

Of the investment, an Infraero spokesperson said, “All 67 airports in Brazil will be in perfect condition for the World Cup.”

Infraero expects Viracopos airport, located in São Paulo state's Campinas city, to become the country’s most important air transit hub and probably the biggest in the southern hemisphere by 2030, handling anticipated passenger numbers exceeding 60 million each year.

In addition to Viracopos airport, Infraero confirmed that construction works on a third passenger terminal at Cumbica in Guarulhos will be completed by 2012.

In Rio de Janeiro, BRL 400 million (US$ 256 million) has been earmarked for improvements at Galeão airport.

First stage works at Brasilia airport to increase passenger capacity to 15 million passengers per year will be completed by 2010, whilst the second stage, which will see capacity rise to 25 million passengers, is scheduled for completion by 2018. The airport is currently preparing the bidding rules for the first stage expansion works.

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