Friday, November 4, 2011

Wheels Down... Rio Style

Time Irado made it safely to Rio de Janeiro today and have settled into the luxurious JW Marriott hotel located on the Copacabana beach. I must say the hotel is quite spectacular (even with the three of us in the same room, I have a nice cot next to the window!) with beaches as far as the eye can see. The view from the airplane flying in over Rio is absolutely breathtaking. I remember the last time I saw a sight from an airplane that took my breathe away. It was the first time flying over New York City and seeing the island of skyscrapers tightly packed on a small peninsula, with the Statue of Liberty flanking the mega city.

We flew from the Sao Paulo International Airport of Sao Paulo Guarulhos and flew into the secondary airport in Rio called Santos Dumont. Santos Dumont is likely the smallest airport I have ever flown into as it was created with land that was "reclaimed" from the sea back in the 1930's. Now I know that is not all that comforting to me in terms of "reclaiming" land from the ocean and landing planes on to it. However, it was a smooth landing even if the seats on WebJet planes, a local Brazilian airline, are extremely small. I thought my seat arrangements on the flight from New York to Sao Paulo a month ago were bad, but these seats would barely fit a large child, let alone a large man like myself. Back to the airport and its safety.

The Santos Dumont runways "Reclaimed from the Sea"
So once you get past the "reclaiming" of land from the sea part, there is the whole issue of 25 or so deadly accidents in its 80 year history. You may say, that's 1 accident every three years since inception, but that I assure you that would still be safer than other forms of transportation.

Worldwide averages show the following accidents:

Deaths per billion passenger-journeysDeaths per billion passenger-hoursDeaths per billion passenger-kilometres
Bus: 4.3Bus: 11.1Air: 0.05
Rail: 20Rail: 30Bus: 0.4
Van: 20Air: 30.8Rail: 0.6
Car: 40Water: 50Van: 1.2
Foot: 40Van: 60Water: 2.6
Water: 90Car: 130Car: 3.1
Air: 117Foot: 220Bicycle: 44.6
Bicycle: 170Bicycle: 550Foot: 54.2
Motorcycle: 1640Motorcycle: 4840Motorcycle: 108.9

In the United States, facts show that the likelihood of a fatal accident, is more than eight times greater when driving all of the way than when flying. Now I did not perform the actual research so I cannot really provide "Assurance" despite my background as an auditor, however these are pretty much in line with my "expectations" (another form of audit procedure). Any way you dice it, motorcycles are the most dangerous, including in Sao Paulo, where an average of one Motorcyclist dies each day from an accident.

At that rate, I would take the odds of landing on this "reclaimed land". Besides, I'm in Rio, and the "Juice was worth the Squeeze" into the small plane and runway. Now we are sitting in the Executive Lounge thanks to Ryan's Gold Status at Marriott. Beaches and Caipirinhas await!

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