Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has ordered that the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) make 8 of its airplanes avalable to meet the demand of passengers who for the last three days have been delayed for hours waiting for their flight.
The Air Force planes to be put at the disposal of the private airlines are two 40-seat Boeings 737-300, known as Sucatinha (little scraps), which are the back-up planes for Brazil’s Air Force 1; two Boeings 707, called Sucatões (big scraps), which also belong to the presidency and are kept in Rio. Four Embraer’s EMB 145 with 45 seats each, which normally stay in Brasília, will also be used in the operation.
Just hours before deciding to put the FAB planes at the airlines’ disposal Lula had said that the government would not be able to solve the problem of all passengers: "This is the only thing the Government can’t solve, because the Union doesn’t have an airline. is to meet the needs of all passengers. I only hope they don’t oversell tickets."
Curiously the idea to use Air Force planes to try to solve the current chaos in the airports came out from a request Thursday night by congressmen who asked to use the official planes so they wouldn’t be stuck in the airports with all the other passengers.
They ended up giving up the idea fearing a negative repercussion after their botched attempt to double their own salaries just last week.
The note released by FAB tonight says: "The Air Force’ Social Communication Center reports that, by determination of His Excellency President of the Republic and as way to relieve the difficulties now being experienced by the commercial civilian aviation customers, all Brazilian Air Force’s available means of air transportation were emergencially committed to operate in a complementary manner to the airlines ability to meet the season’s high demand. The incurred expenses will integrally be compensated by the airlines."