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Rio airport swelters as AC fails during heat wave

Rio airport swelters as AC fails during heat wave

January 3rd, 2014 in News

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Passengers sweltered Friday without air conditioning in parts of Rio de Janeiro's Antonio Carlos Jobim international airport with temperatures outside hovering around 40 degress Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

A spokeswoman for Infraero, which oversees Brazil's airport infrastructure, acknowledged the air conditioning was off in a part of the facility because of ongoing construction at Rio's largest airport. She said it would remain off in that area into February, the height of South America's summer.

Brazil's shoddy airports are a major worry heading into the World Cup in just more than five months with many overhauls delayed or scrapped. About 500,000 foreign visitors are expected, stretching airport capacity at 12 venues across the continent-size country.

"It's clear that on a day like today, when the heat index is 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit), that it's impossible to keep the heat out," said the Infraero spokeswoman, who was interviewed on condition of anonymity under department policy. "People are constantly coming in and out, the doors are constantly opening."

Airport capacity and delays in completing 12 stadiums are major worries with football fans facing flight delays and likely confusion around just-completed venues. Many say last-minute airport renovations will not eliminate operations problems across the system.

Earlier this week, heavy rains leaked through the roof of Rio's international airport, forming large pools on the tile floors.