Airport Chaos in Brazil: Plane Crews and Counter Workers Abandon Posts

Despite the help of the Brazilian Air Force, which is leasing eight of its planes to private airlines, the chaos in Brazil’s airports continued unabated for a fourth consecutive day.

If anything the situation only grew more ominous this Saturday, December 23. Lines, waiting for hours and lack of information continued while the public has been showing their discontent in a much more graphic way, screaming, attacking airlines’ workers and breaking several computers.

Now, the workers themselves are the ones getting revolted. In São Paulo, Rio and Brasí­lia, employees of TAM, Brazil’s largest airline, abandoned their check-in counters alleging they had been assaulted by angry passengers. And TAM’s crews also are refusing to fly maintaining that they have been forced to work way overtime.

Passengers going to Fortaleza, capital of Ceará, had already boarded a TAM plane in Congonhas, the São Paulo domestic airport, this morning, when they were told that they had to leave the aircraft because the crew were refusing to fly due to excessive work in the last few days.

But even after all the crew had left the aircraft the passengers refused to budge and stayed inside the plane waiting for a new crew.
At 1:30 pm, local time, TAM still hadn’t found a substitute crew.

Besides the Air Force, the once number one air carrier Varig is also helping TAM, which has overbooked and now cannot embark all those holding tickets. Varig is lending not only planes but also pilots and staff. The company has already transported more than 700 people this  morning and should fly hundreds more during the day.

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