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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 March 2007, 07:21 GMT 08:21 UK
Brazil flights crippled by strike
Brazilian airliner over Rio de Janeiro (archive picture)
All of the country's main airports were closed for take-offs
Airports have resumed flights in Brazil after air traffic controllers suspended a strike called to protest about their working conditions.

Government negotiators and trade unions reached an agreement to end the strike, which briefly halted all flights out of all of the country's 49 airports.

Action had spread across Brazil after air traffic controllers began a hunger strike in the capital, Brasilia.

Thousands of passengers were left stranded by the protest.

The striking controllers had said they had lost all confidence in their commanders and the equipment at their disposal.

Air traffic controllers in Brazil have staged similar protests since last September, when 154 people were killed in the country's worst air disaster.

The BBC's Tim Hirsch in Sao Paulo says internal flights have been in a state of chaos since the crash.

Shutdown

Controllers were on hunger strike in Brasilia, the main traffic control centre for all flights through central Brazil.

Air traffic control in Brazil is under the control of the air force, and most controllers are military and non-unionised.

At the talks, the government agreed to suspend planned transfers of striking workers from Brasilia to other parts of the country, increase worker salaries and begin talks about "demilitarising" the industry, Brazil's Globo TV reports.

During the latest strike, all of the country's commercial airports were closed for take-off, although planes in flight were being allowed to land normally, airport authority Ifraero said.

Brazilian TV showed airport lobbies jammed with thousands of people, many desperate and confused.

Civilian controllers are expected to ballot for a national strike on Monday.

The strike came days after President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva promised to work to bring a swift end to disruptions at the country's airports.


Your comments

I flew from Sao Paulo to Rio last Wednesday and my airplane sat on the tarmac for 30 minutes without a reason. It was clear to all passengers that tensions were simmering and air traffic control was about to collapse.
Luis W, Rio, Brazil

I am due to fly from Rio to London next week. If the strike continues I will have no way to return to the UK for work. While I am of course worried about how I'm going to get back to the UK, I will be glad to spend extra time in one of the most fantastic countries in the world.
Mike, London, England

C-H-A-O-S, is the best definition of the JK Airport at Brazil's capital during this Friday night. After a long week of work, thousands of people wishing to go home are here, without information, without even a place to sit, waiting in lines for more than four hours. Childs crying, poor air companies' attendants almost crying, hearing the passengers complains. While this happens, our president is confortably flying to the USA, inside the Tupiniquim 3rd world Air Force One. A warning for you: Don't come to Brazil, at least by plane.
Carlos Marcel Ferreira da Silva, Brasília - Brazil

I travel on a regular basis and seem to face unreasonable delays not matter what flight, airport or connections I try. Air travel in Brazil is in crisis and the inertia of Lula's government is puzzling. It is disgraceful to see how little Brazil spends on infrastructure. The concept of a group of the largest emerging economies (BRIC) that includes Brazil is the figment of some bureaucrat's imagination. Brazil will be left behind in terms of economic and social development.
Maryse Belanger, Brasilia, Brazil

I flew from new york to miami on my way to rio. I am stuck in miami until further notice.
Sabrina McCormick, Miami, FL USA

I am sitting on a United airlines flight at Dulles international in Washington, DC. The flight was supposed to depart for Buenos Aires at 21:45 EST. We are still sitting at the gate. United announced that the delay was because of the situation in Brazil. No further news has been announced.
John Stranix, Vienna, Virginia, USA

No flights are leaving New York. I was suppose to go to Argentina tonight, but the flight was cancelled (along with the other American Airline flights from New York).
Joseph Pearson, New York, NY

My wife was in Rio for two days and unable to get back home tonight, Friday, so for the moment she is stuck there. Air travel here has been a bit shambolic since the fatal crash and it's quite hard to see how things are going to improve in such a chaotic country. She is a business woman and needs to fly reasonably often and to be honest we don't see any real prospect of improvement. Why live here? Very good question.
Martin Raw, Sao Paulo, Brazil

My daughter's was travelling to Brazil for her high school band trip. Some of the group are stuck in Atlanta, some in Dallas (because of weather). All of their flights to Brazil have been cancelled. There are 130 students on this trip. What a disappointment for them!!
Debby L., Eagan, MN USA

Stranded in Argentina with no assistance or help from American Airlines - despite being offered $400 US in vouchers to take a day later flight. It seemed quite apparent that AA was very much aware that a potential strike was about to occur but did nothing to warn its customers. Thus leaving myself and many others sorting out hotels as late as midnight.
Andrew Davidson, London

My father arrived yesterday for a meeting of the Brazilian Society of Orthopaedics (SBOT) and to visit me. Tomorrow I don't know if he is going to come back to his home. You can imagine the mess it was on the airports! Brazil, such a big and beautiful country depending way too much on a flawed airplane and road system. Where are the trains?
Paulo Zambrano Wageck, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

We are currently stranded in Buenos Aires. We were flying from Montevideo, Uruguay to Buenos Aires then up to Dallas, Texas to return home to Seattle, WA. After arriving in Buenos Aires, we were told the radars at the airport were no longer functioning. 10 minutes later they told us that the Brazilian air controllers had shutdown Brazilian air. Friends on a flight to NY had to turn around as they had just left the gate. We are now in a hotel in the city here and praying to get a flight home in the morning. American Airlines was unable to tell us anything else...
Susan and Stephen Papineau, Buenos Aires, Argentina

C-H-A-O-S, is the best definition of the JK Airport at Brazil's capital during this Friday night. After a long week of work, thousands of people wishing to go home are here, without information, without even a place to sit, waiting on lines for more than four hours. Childs crying, poor air companies' attendants almost crying, hearing the passengers complains. While this happens, our president is comfortably flying to the USA, inside the Tupiniquim 3rd world Air Force One. A warning for you: Don't come to Brazil, at least by plane.
Carlos Marcel Ferreira da Silva, Brasília - Brazil




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