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Airports ready for World Cup, says Brazil president

Rio de Janeiro, May 20 (IANS) Brazil President Dilma Rousseff has guaranteed that the country's airports will cope with increased demand during the football World Cup starting next month.

The South American nation is expected to welcome more than 600,000 international visitors during the June 12-July 13 tournament, reports Xinhua.

Rousseff's comments Monday followed admissions by the government that military airports could be used due to unfinished work at terminals in several World Cup host cities.

"All those travelling through our airports in most cities will find that the dust and the noise are receding, and the fencing is being removed to make room for modern, comfortable facilities," Rousseff told state news service Agencia Brasil.

"They will be used for the World Cup, but they are chiefly made for the convenience of (domestic) passengers, of these millions of Brazilians who can now afford to travel by plane. I can ensure that our airports are ready for the World Cup. We'll give all (visitors) a proper welcome."

The government and local organisers have been given a boost by news that the new Terminal 3 at Sao Paulo's Guarulhos International airport will open Tuesday.

The facility will handle up to 12 million passengers a year, accommodating up to 34 aircraft at any given time.

According to the government, Rio's Galeao airport has increased capacity by 80 percent while Manaus's maximum passenger load has tripled.

Expansion work at airports in Brasilia and Belo Horizonte are on track to be completed by the end of the month, Rousseff added.

In addition to airport expansion in Brazil's state capitals, Rousseff has also announced that $1.5 billion will be invested in regional terminals.

"The local airports will make passenger flows easier, so that travellers living or working far from the major centres will gradually be able to take off from within 100 kilometres of their current location," Rousseff said.

"We have already completed feasibility studies for 163 airports, and moved on to the design and engineering phase."

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