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Brazil’s outdated airport infrastructure is one of the main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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