Brazilian airports back to normal

The chaos over the past few days in Brazilian airports due to flight cancellations and delays, mostly those of TAM airlines, caused the loss of some 3,000 suitcases in the country’s main air terminals, the media reported Tuesday. Luggage that passengers checked in with TAM and were not delivered to their owners at their points of arrival remains piled up at 14 airports, according to the daily Folha de Sao Paulo.

The number of lost suitcases is such that at Congonhas airport in Sao Paulo, the country’s busiest, the state-run company that runs the air terminals had to provide TAM with special storage facilities for the unclaimed luggage.

The situation in the airports was normal Tuesday, unlike the bedlam that reigned in the five days before Christmas, when operational problems at TAM, the nation’s leading airline, caused almost 50 percent of its flights to be delayed.

The problems with the TAM flights cause such anger and uproar among airline passengers and employees that at times police had to invervene.

According to TAM, the problems were caused by a downpour in Sao Paulo on Dec. 20, by emergency maintenance for six airliners and by failures in its computer system.

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The National Civil Aviation Agency, or ANAC, opened investigations of TAM on Tuesday “to find out the causes of the disruptions seen over the past few days,” since there were reports that the company engaged in overbooking.

The media also reported that TAM at the critical moment used part of its fleet for charter flights and was left without enough aircraft to operate its regular routes, a charge that the airline has denied.
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