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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 July 2007, 02:51 GMT 03:51 UK
Lula vows to act after air crash
Road and burned out buildings after Tuesday's air crash in Sao Paulo
The Sao Paulo crash was Brazil's worst air disaster
Brazil's president has promised to take all measures needed to prevent further air disasters after the crash in Sao Paulo that killed nearly 200 people.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was making his first public comments since the Tam Airlines jet crashed in flames after landing at Congonhas on Tuesday.

He said air traffic would be reduced at the airport, and that a new one would be built to ease the pressure.

There has been intense speculation but no confirmation on the crash's cause.

Tam Airlines said on Friday that one of the two thrust reversers on the Airbus 320 - which help jets slow down on landing - had been deactivated on the plane during maintenance checks.

But the company insisted that the deactivation was in accordance with proper procedures.

Strong criticism

In a televised speech to the nation, President Lula pledged to take "all measures within our reach to diminish the risk of new tragedies".

You can't condemn or absolve anyone based on hasty opinions, nor should we abandon any line of investigation in the early stages
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

"Our aviation system, in spite of the investments we have made in expansion and modernisation of almost all Brazilian airports, is passing through difficulties.

"Its biggest problem today is the excessive concentration of flight to Congonhas," the president said.

He announced several government-approved measures to remedy the situation, including a ban on charter, cargo and executive flights to Congonhas.

The president also gave airlines 60 days to stop using the airport as a hub for connecting flights, and said the location for a new city airport would be chosen within 90 days.

But he also urged the nation to avoid jumping to hasty conclusions and wait for the investigation to end.

Launched: 1988
In operation: 1,700
Operators include: British Airways; Air France; Air Canada; China Eastern Airlines; Iberia; United Airlines; Jet Blue Airways

President Lula has been strongly criticised for not appearing in public immediately after the crash.

The political heat increased on Thursday, after Brazil's Globo TV showed a presidential aide making obscene gestures after hearing reports that pointed to problems with the plane's braking system.

The aide, Marco Aurelio Garcia, later apologised, saying the gestures were a private expression of his indignation at attempts to blame the government for the accident.

The crash occurred in wet conditions on a recently resurfaced runway that has been criticised as being too short.

Video footage appeared to show the Tam plane travelling along one section of the runway at higher than normal speed, taking only three seconds to cover the same distance the previous plane had done in 11.

Tam Airlines initially said 186 people were aboard the plane, but revised the figure to 187 on Friday.

Most of the passengers and crew on board the flight were Brazilian.


Brazil's leader speaks out after Sao Paulo's air crash

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