Olympic Flame was Delivered in Four Lamps
The Olympic torch has been transported to Brazil from Switzerland by the official carrier of the games – LATAM Airlines. On May 3, 2016, the carrier flew Boeing 767 from Geneva to the host nation’s capital Brasilia, escorted by two F-5 fighters from the Brazilian Air Force.
The Olympic flame was transported in a passenger cabin and was kept in four separate lamps, fuelled by kerosene in order to avoid the extinguishment. A special structure was developed to secure the lamps in airplane‘s seats. As a safety precaution, they, along with carpets, were made from non-flammable fabric.
In all, the Olympic flame has been carried by 12,000 people, for the last 95 days. It also has visited 320 cities, covered 20,000 km byon land, and over 16,000 km by air.
Even Horses Require Special Air Transportation
The Olympic torch was not the only item that was specially delivered to the Olympic games by airplane. More than 300 horses from all around the globe were flown to Brazil on a uniquely fitted aircraft for equestrian events.The horses were loaded into special containers that were later put on the main cargo deck. The containers are able to fit up to three horses, but there is a common joke that two horses in one container fly in a business class, while one – in the first class.
It is no surprise that horses, just like human beings, have to have their documents cleared before the boarding.
“Documents are full of important data, such as a detailed physical description, with diagrams, a list of competitions competed in and a list of vaccinations taken,” said Alex Titan, Rio 2016 Sport Competition Manager.
During the transportation, the horses wear special traveling boots and protective bandages to avoid injuries. They are accompanied by professional flying grooms and vets, and may even require medication to cope with stress.
Great Honour for Airlines to Carry Athletes
Over 11 000 world’s best athletes from 205 countries will be participating in Rio 2016. It is a great honor for carriers to transport national teams, they try to create the most comfortable trip possible and even dedicate special liverys to the games. In return, some athletes, for instance, US sportsmen, advertise their carrier.
Even though the governments and carriers put special attention for athletes journeys, not every national team‘s trip has been safe and sound. The Nigerian soccer team missed its original flight from Atlanta, U.S. to Brazil, because of payment issues between the government and a charter company. Once they were solved, it turned out that another aircraft sent to carry the team was too small to transport the whole squad.
Luckily, the airport‘s managers contacted Delta‘s representatives, who were able to provide them with an airplane, normally used to transport NBA teams. The Nigerian soccer team arrived in Brazil with only 13 hours to rest before their first game with Japan.
Operation Hours Extended for Private Jets
The Olympic games attract not only world-class athletes but also crowds of fans, heads-of-states as well as, businessmen, many of whom travel by their own aircraft. In order to cope with arrivals of private jets, Rio airports have extended their operation hours.
Private aircraft will be able to land at city’s main Galeão International airport from 08:00 until 02:00, while Santos Dumont airport will accept arrivals from 06:00 until 00:00, allowing an additional 180 business jet flights per night.
The airspace cannot be opened for private jets all the time due to safety precautions. Rio‘s officials are preparing for the worst case scenario when aircraft crashes into one of the stadiums. In order to provide the maximum air security, F-5 fighters will be patrolling the skies of Rio.
Galeão International Airport has been Expanded
The Brazilian government expects around 2.5 million visitors during the period of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Usually, Galeão International Airport handles around 40,000 passengers per day, but on the opening night, the airport expects the number reach 90,000.
To cope with passenger flow during the Olympics, and increasing travel demand in the country, the airport has opened South Pier in Terminal 2 that is 1 km long and is equipped with 26 boarding bridges.
As a result of the expansion Galeão’s annual capacity has risen from 17 million to 30 million passengers per year. The airport has also added 68 check-in desks, opened “eGates” to speed up customs and border control and expanded its car park capacity.
It has been over one hundred years since aviation sport – hot air ballooning was featured in the Olympic games. Despite not being in the official program, the aviation industry will have its significant input into the games and Rio 2016 without a doubt will be a sports event to remember.