The language used by Giovanni Bisignani, CEO of the International Air Transport Association, to describe Brazil's overwhelmed airports at an industry conference Thursday was some of the harshest criticism yet leveled at the nation on the topic.
"Brazil is Latin America's largest and fastest growing economy but air transport infrastructure is a growing disaster," he told industry leaders at a meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association in Panama. The organization represents 230 airlines around the world.
"To avoid a national embarrassment, Brazil needs bigger and better facilities for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics," Bisignani said. "But I don't see progress and the clock is ticking. The time for debate is over."
Brazil's robust economic growth has resulted in increased demands on air travel. Thirteen of the country's 20 largest domestic airports cannot accommodate existing demand, and the situation is critical in Sao Paulo, South America's biggest international hub, Bisignani said.