Judge stops building work at key World Cup airport

A Brazilian judge has stopped building work to renovate and
expand Brazil’s largest airport for the 2014 World Cup.

A federal judge issued an injunction to halt construction at the
Sao Paulo international airport because the expansion project was
allegedly initiated without a bidding process.

Judge Louise Vilela Filgueiras Borer in Sao Paulo said in a
statement Monday that Infraero, the government agency that oversees
airport infrastructure, illegally ordered the work to begin, saying
it was an urgent project to avoid air travel chaos during the World
Cup.

The judge called it a ”made-up urgency,” saying it was an
excuse to avoid the bidding process. She noted that the need to
avoid air transportation problems in Brazil is far from new.

”It’s a public necessity that exists for years and only now
there is a rush to address it with urgency, saying that the
population will be harmed if the work is not completed in 180
days,” the judge said.

Infraero’s press office said Tuesday the agency was aware of the
judge’s decision and denied any wrongdoing. It said the agency
would take all the necessary legal measures to get the work under
way again.

The Sao Paulo airport, which will gain a third passenger
terminal when the work is concluded, is a major air hub in South
America. It receives the vast majority of international flights in
Brazil and will be key during the 2013 Confederations Cup and the
World Cup, when air travel will be crucial to transport teams and
the hundreds of thousands of fans expected during football’s
showcase event.

FIFA and government officials have been saying that improving
Brazil’s outdated airport infrastructure is one of the main
challenges to prepare the country to host the World Cup and the
2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The World Cup will be played in 12 host cities across
Brazil.

The judge said having the work done in the Sao Paulo airport
without a bidding process would create a ”dangerous precedent” in
the future, allowing for ”arbitrary” decisions that ”would not
take public interest into account because of made-up
urgencies.”

The judge said Infraero will have to pay a $60,000 fine
(?44,000) per day if it does not abide by her decision.

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