While Varig Draws Last Breath Brazil Readies Five Planes to Bring 28,000 Home

A bankruptcy judge annulled Friday, June 23, the sale of Brazil flag carrier Varig airlines after a workers’ group failed to make the first required payment. The decision threatens to leave thousands of Brazilians football fans stranded in Germany.

Judge Luiz Roberto Ayoub said the TGV workers’ group, which had made the sole bid for Varig airlines at a bankruptcy auction on June 8, failed to come up with the US$ 75 million first deposit required under the auction’s rules.

By annulling the bid, Ayoub said he would refer the case to prosecutors and the company’s bankruptcy administrators to decide whether to liquidate the company, order a new auction or hold meetings between creditors and the company.

Ayoub said the fate of the company would only become clear next week, further extending a drama that has dragged on for most of the month and now threatens to leave thousands of Brazilians stranded in Germany where the football World Cup is being played.

Brazilian government officials estimate 28,000 people who travelled overseas with Varig are expected back in Brazil by the end of June. Of those, 5,600 people flew Varig to Germany, said Milton Zuanazzi, president of Brazil’s national civil aviation agency.

Grupo Aguia whose Planeta Brasil was named by the Brazilian Soccer Federation as the official tour operator for the World Cup, said it was monitoring "minute by minute decisions" affecting Varig.

The company sold 8,000 packages, which include tickets to watch Brazil’s matches, most of them using Varig.

However Mabel Kinder, a travel agent for Oficina Eventos e Turismo in São Paulo, was not taking any chances. She stopped selling packages using Varig six months ago and has recommended clients fly instead with Lufthansa, Swissair and other airlines.

"This crisis was known for some time, so we avoided selling Varig," Kinder said. The Brazilian government has five airplanes ready at the Galeão Air Force base in Rio de Janeiro to bring Brazilian passengers back to the country if needed, an Air Force spokeswoman said.

The Brazilian Air Force has three 45-seat C-99 planes and two Boeing 707 jets, each capable of carrying 160 people. The C-99’s would be used in Latin America and the bigger jets to fly Brazilians with Varig tickets back from other continents.

The Boeings have been recently retired after serving as Brazil’s Air Force One. The Brazilian government acquired new planes. The old were considered in bad shape and were mockingly call the sucatão (the big scrap piece).

The 79-year-old airline that was once Latin America’s largest carrier has been under bankruptcy protection for more than a year.

Varig’s troubles are the worst affecting international travel in the country in more than 40 years, said Leonel Rossi, director of international affairs at the Brazilian Travel Agencies Association.

Varig had a two-third share of international air traffic, according to data from the civil aviation agency. "This is a severe crisis," Rossi said.

Mercopress – www.mercopress.com

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  • Show Comments (3)

  • Guest

    Re above post…
    I think you’re missing the point, actually. Illegal immigrats are just that illegal. They do not belong in the country they’ve chosen to inhabit. Any national of any country has a right and duty to inform on people living (or working) in their country who has no offical documents to support their being there.
    Economic factors may influence the flood of Mexicans into the States, and varieties of negros into Europe where I am from, but it will not make it right. No papers: ‘return to sender’!

  • Guest

    US Conservatives are such barbarians
    Look at that: can’t spell (“your” is not the same as “you’re”, ignoramus); can’t seem to unfreeze their caps lock key; and worst of all, are brimming with such anger and hatred. The poster is probably some sad character in the provinces who’s been all riled up by neo-fascist talk-show radio. His raw anger has been directed at people he has nothing to do with, and who don’t affect his life at all — unless he feels immigrants are stealing his job, meaning that he’s a bus-boy at a local restaurant who lost his job to a much more hard-working Mexican.

    So, my dear Brazilian friends, ignore these types. Don’t think they define the US. Fired by pre-globalization nostalgia, dreaming of by-gone times when their petty little-league baseball games filled their lives, these people are getting dragged out onto the scrap-heap of history by world-wide changes they don’t understand. Unconsciously, they know this; but sadly for them, their preachers and neo-fascist radio won’t tell them what’s actually happening to them — so they’re scared.

  • Guest

    U.S.A. OBSERVER
    AND WHILE YOUR AT IT SWING THAT PLANE OVER TO THE U.S.A. AND PICK UP YOUR CRIMINAL ILLEGAL ALIENS PRESENTLY IN THE U.S. ILLEGALY! WE ARE ABOUT TO “RETURN TO SENDER”!!

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