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Brazil's federal audit court TCU criticized the funds allocation process developed for the federal government's 7.3bn-real (US$2.81bn) plan to improve 270 regional airports.
Although court auditors understand the need to stimulate air transport in rural areas, they feel that the overall criteria being used by civil aviation authority SAC results in an inappropriate use of federal funds, local paper Valor Econômico reported.
One of the issues raised by the court is the logic of funding airports less than 50km apart.
Among the airports in close proximity are Francisco Beltrão and Pato Branco (Paraná state), Lages and Correia Pinto (Santa Catarina), Pelotas and Rio Grande (Rio Grande do Sul), and Cacoal and Pimenta Bueno (Rondônia).
The court also raised concerns about decisions regarding which airports receive funds first. Of the first 28 airports selected by SAC, nine are in the state of São Paulo and that is mainly because they had their basic plans ready.
The court said other criteria should take precedence such as the results of airport demand studies and the opinions of airline companies.
Technicians hired by the court have completed their evaluation. A final opinion on the matter by TCU minister Ana Arraes is pending.