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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 July 2007, 02:20 GMT 03:20 UK
Brazil air crash runway re-opened
Congonhas airport (Photo: AirTeamImages)
Congonhas airport is very close to Sao Paulo city centre
The main runway at Sao Paulo's Congonhas airport has been re-opened 10 days after a passenger plane overshot it in Brazil's worst aviation disaster.

But landings will be restricted in wet weather until the surface is grooved to improve the drainage of rainwater.

Nearly 200 people died when a TAM Airlines Airbus 320 landed in wet conditions, crashed into a nearby building and burst into flames.

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

The accident has led to air travel chaos in Brazil, where there have been mass cancellations and delays.

Investigation

The main runway at Congonhas was re-opened on Friday after being inspected by Brazil's new Defence Minister, Nelson Jobim.

Mr Jobim, whose ministry oversees air traffic control, was appointed on Wednesday. His predecessor was sacked after being criticised for being inefficient.

Map

A TAM plane was the first to touch down on the 1,939m (6,362ft) runway, which was resurfaced only weeks before the accident.

Planes will continue to land on the 1,436m (4,711ft) secondary runway in wet conditions until the main surface has been completely grooved - a process that could take weeks.

Investigators are still trying to determine if the main runway's condition and length played a role in the accident.

Tam Airlines has said 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.

Video footage appeared to show the 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.

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


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