Image: Brazilian passenger waits
Antonio Lacerda  /  EPA
A passenger waits for news regarding her flight at the Tom Jobin International Airport of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, after air traffic controllers in the country slowed down operations over grievances with the federal government over working and safety conditions
updated 6/22/2007 2:14:06 PM ET 2007-06-22T18:14:06

Flight delays stranded thousands of passengers across South America’s biggest country for a fourth straight day on Friday.

At least 115 flights were canceled and 461 were delayed at least an hour of the 1,422 flights scheduled before 6:00 p.m. Friday, according to Brazil’s airport authority.

The delays have snowballed since earlier in the week due to technical problems and a slowdown by air controllers alleging malfunctioning equipment and poor working conditions.

Television stations showed long lines of tired, annoyed passengers at check-in counters in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Some stretched out to sleep on the floor.

The air force, which oversees Brazil’s air traffic control system blamed the delays on problems with radar screens and a communications link failure on Tuesday.

In a statement, air force commander Brig. Juniti Saito said some civil aviation controllers will be replaced with military aviation controllers. He said a small group of controllers has refused to operate equipment that is certified to be in good condition.

“This behavior is completely unacceptable because it violates the inalienable right of individuals to come and go,” Saito said.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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