No-fly zones are being declared by the Brazilian Air Force over all World Cup stadiums in an effort to prevent terrorist attacks from the air.
The problem is that Brazilian law does not permit the shooting down of civilian aircraft over heavily populated urban areas. It does, however, allow planes to be shot at in other areas along its borders which are defined as drug trafficking routes.
The World Cup games are to be played in 12 cities from June 12 – July 13; a total of 64 games in all.
Air Force Brigadier Antonio Carlos Egito said at a news conference on Friday that the Air Force wants no-fly zones to be imposed over all the stadiums. It believes that for defense to be meaningful, it must have the deterrent effect of being able to shoot at intruders.
He pointed out that the anti-aircraft guns to be deployed near the stadiums cannot be fired at a plane flying into a no-fly zone.
However, restrictions will be applied on commercial flights to the degree that they will not be permitted to land at the eight airports situated within the 7.2 kilometers (4 miles) no-fly radius of stadiums
For reasons which are not immediately clear, take-offs will be allowed; the total no-fly period is from one hour before kickoff until about three hours after the end of each game. International airports will have no restrictions.
So far, according to the number of seats booked on domestic flights, these no-fly limitations will not really matter. Marcelo Guaranys, the president of the civilian aviation regulatory body (ANAC) announced that only 10 percent of the available seats have been taken.
It is estimated that some three million Brazilians and 600,000 overseas fans will attend the games. However, renovation work is behind schedule at three major airports, Guarulhos in Sao Paulo, Viracopos in Campinas, and the airport of the capital, Brasilia.
To relieve the anticipated congestion, the Brazilian Air Force is making its bases available for VIP’s and all the 32 teams and their entourages.
To give a taste of what World Cup football is about, the Portuguese team is arriving on one plane. A second plane is carrying 200 journalists, and as for the star player, Cristiano Ronaldo; he and his family are arriving separately in four executive jets,
Civil Aviation Minister Wellington Moreira Franco told Reuters this week that Italy has been given permission to fly to the Santa Cruz Air Force base near Rio. Mexico, Bosnia and Costa Rica have been authorized to use a military base near their training site in Santos.
Brazil has placed a very high priority on security for this World Cup – the no-fly zones being one example.
Will the government allow the Air Force the right to shoot at civilian planes which enter the zones?
It’s Brazil – anything is possible.