Dubai: Emirates and Etihad Airways are not concerned about possible diversions or delays to their Brazil flights during the 2014 Fifa World Cup.
Etihad is confident its passengers will be able to attend the games even if there are “delays due to an unforeseen reason,” said Peter Baumgartner, chief commercial officer, Etihad Airways. He added that the delays are “manageable”.
When asked what concerns Emirates had over warnings of possible delays, a spokesperson said, “Emirates continues with its daily flights to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro as we move towards the exciting World Cup period.”
“Any queries about airport operations in Brazil should be directed to the appropriate authorities,” they added.
More than 500,000 international visitors are expected to flock to Brazil in June and July for the World Cup, which is likely to strain the country’s airport infrastructure.
“The World Cup is a great opportunity for Brazil to show the world what it has to offer. However, the very success of its growing economy has placed its airport and air traffic control capacity under pressure,” said John Strickland, director at UK-based aviation advisory JLS Consulting.
“It seems that sufficient improvement will not be in place in time for the event and airlines will pay the price with delays and disrupted flights bringing in the influx of traffic,” he added.
The Etihad flight arrives in Sao Paulo at 4.35pm local time, and Baumgartner says passengers will need to fly at least a day before to attend any specific game. This means that a flight delay could have little impact on their passenger’s ability to attend a game.
Etihad and Emirates have said they do not plan to increase services.
Last week, Reuters reported that a number of Latin American airlines warned of lengthy delays during the World Cup.