Brazil’s civil aviation regulator has granted authorisation for a Porto Alegre military air base to handle commercial flights, after flooding put the city’s international airport out of action for an indefinite period.

Porto Alegre’s Salgado Filho airport was flooded after storms struck the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul at the end of April.

Brazilian regulator ANAC says the military Canoas air base – about 6km north of Salgado Filho airport – has been granted approval to receive commercial passenger and cargo flights.

Fraport Brasil, the concessionaire for Salgado Filho airport, will manage the civil operation at Canoas.

ANAC states that Fraport Brasil must provide safe and adequate conditions for passengers, during departure and arrival, with such services as check-in, baggage-handling, and security inspection – all with the consideration of restrictions associated with a military facility.

Canoas air base-c-Google Maps

Source: Google Maps

Canoas air base is located about 6km north of the flood-hit Salgado Filho airport

Fraport Brasil will also need to ensure sufficient information, such as fare structures, is given to passengers and that signage is placed to assist. Restrictions will be put in place, including a prohibition on contracting to third parties.

Use of Canoas as an alternative is part of a Brazilian government emergency plan to address the flooding crisis.

“Civil air operations at the air base will continue while operations at Salgado Filho international airport, in Porto Alegre, are suspended,” says ANAC in a 20 May resolution.

If revenues collected are not sufficient to cover the cost of the operation at Canoas, the airport operator will be entitled to reimbursement from government budgets, and eligible for advance funding to meet immediate expenses.

ANAC published another resolution on the same date which prohibited take-off and landing at Salgado Filho from 21 May.

It states that this measure is “without a fixed term” and will remain in effect until Fraport Brasil is able to demonstrate that the airport can operate while meeting civil aviation safety conditions.

ANAC says this decision arises from the “impossibility of using the runway system” and, consequently, the entire airport, owing to the flooding.

It adds that the situation at Salgado Filho airport can only be analysed “after the water volume in the airport complex has been reduced and the damage that occurred has been assessed”.