Long lines at Brazil airports with new security measures

AP News
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Posted: Jul 18, 2016 3:27 PM

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — New, stricter security checks placed on Brazilian airports before the upcoming Olympics stalled travelers and delayed flights on Monday.

Starting at 6 a.m., long, chaotic lines formed at the local Congonhas airport in Brazil's biggest city, Sao Paulo. Within a half-hour, more than 700 people were waiting on the building's first and second floors to pass through security filters.

The lines eased up by the afternoon.

Smaller airports in other cities of Sao Paulo state in southwest Brazil also reported problems.

There were long lines as well at the local Santos Dumont in Rio de Janeiro, where the games will be open in just under three weeks, on Aug. 5.

International airports have not been affected so far.

Because of the stricter checks, Brazil's state-run airport administrator Infraero have recommended that travelers now arrive at airports two hours before their scheduled domestic flights. Brazilian travelers are accustomed to arriving 30 minutes before domestic flights. At least five flights at Congonhas were delayed Monday, Infraero said.

The new, tighter security procedures include body searches, removal of electronic items from bags before scanning and a more thorough inspection of luggage by airport agents. Travelers who refuse to cooperate will not be allowed to board.

Brazil's aviation agency said the steps were necessary.

"Due to this vacation period and with the proximity of the Olympic Games, demand for air transportation will surely increase," the agency said.

Brazilian authorities expect more than 500,000 foreign tourists to visit Rio for the Olympic Games.