World Cup Poses Blackout Risk to Rio de Janeiro’s Galeao Airport

The biggest airport in Rio de Janeiro risks electricity shortages during the World Cup of soccer that begins in less than two months, according to Brazil’s civil aviation minister.

“The only current risk is the Galeao airport,” Wellington Moreira Franco said in an interview by Twitter. “We’ve had several power outages that were very short, but very damaging.”

Brazil has suffered its worst drought in decades, reducing reservoir levels to their lowest since the country rationed power in 2001 and prompting record thermo generation. Rio will host seven games throughout the month-long tournament, including the final, and most visitors to Brazil’s largest tourism destination will land at Galeao.

The government scheduled a May 5 meeting between the Energy Ministry, power distributor Light SA (LIGT3) and the airport’s operator to clarify the situation and eliminate risk of further outages, Franco said.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff this month presided over the signing of a 25-year concession to operate Galeao. A unit of Singapore’s Changi Airport Group and Odebrecht SA won the concession in November. Galeao handled 17.5 million passengers in 2013, and the consortium intends to increase that to 60 million passengers.

The country has a “balanced” power situation and would only face energy shortages if rainfall in the coming months are less the year-to-date total, which is “low probability,” according to April 2 statement from the Energy Ministry.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mario Sergio Lima in Brasilia Newsroom at; David Biller in Rio de Janeiro at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Attwood at Robert Jameson

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