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New defence minister appointed as Brazil's air crisis deepens

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New defence minister appointed as Brazil's air crisis deepens


Brazil’s new defence minister, Nelson Jobim, has been given the difficult task of resolving the crisis in the country’s military-run air traffic system. President Lula da Silva picked him to replace his longtime friend Waldir Pires. As the former defence minister, Pires had faced mounting criticism for failing to end months of aviation chaos, exacerbated by last week’s deadly crash at Sao Paulo’s Congonhas airport. With its main runway now closed, delays and cancellations have stranded thousands across the country. Things are so bad that Brazil’s Aviation Authoritiy has temporarily suspended ticket sales for flights to and from Congonhas, the country’s busiest airport. Amid bad weather, even its backup runway has only been open intermittently. In last week’s crash an Airbus A320 skidded off a rain-slicked runway. Nearly 200 people died in Brazil’s worst-ever aviation accident. It was also the country’s second major air disaster in less than a year. President Lula da Silva has said he will do whatever is needed to resolve the situation.

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