Brazil, host of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games, has a lot of infrastructure problems. As a rapidly developing economy, the country has the infrastructure of a much less developed nation. A recent report from the Brazilian Institute of Applied Economic Research indicated that most of the airports in Brazil were currently operating well above capacity and would be unable to handle the increased air traffic associated with a major sporting event like the World Cup or Summer Olympic Games. The two main airports in Sao Paulo, for example, are currently operating 25% above their capacity. Media reports indicate that it will take more than $7 billion in new investment to increase airport capacity by enough to accommodate the World Cup.
Modern economies need transportation infrastructure – airports, ports, roads, etc. – to operate effectively. Brazil clearly plans to become a modern industrial economy. I have never understood why some countries will only undertake this sort of infrastructure investment if they host a major sporting event. If your airports are old and too small for the current economy, and hindering additional economic development, then make the investment. Don’t wait until you are awarded the World Cup to undertake the projects.
With the 2014 World Cup still 4 years away, the Brazilians still have time to expand and renovate their airports. But not that much time – airport renovation projects take a long time from the commencement of planning to completion. The news articles I have read don’t mention that anything is actually being done to address the problem. Tempus fugit.