Source AP ©

Director of Brazil's Civil Aviation Agency leaves his post

The director of Brazil's Civil Aviation Agency resigned due to blames for the country's monthslong aviation crisis.

Milton Zuanazzi, who has presided over the agency during Brazil's two deadliest plane crashes, said the final factor in his decision to leave was Defense Minister Nelson Jobim's proposal to increase the required distance between airplane seats - a move that would force carriers to raise fares, Zuanazzi said.

"They don't want poor people to fly," he told a news conference in Brasilia.

The civil aviation agency, run by a five-member board appointed by the president to five-year terms, oversees an industry plagued by poor infrastructure and air traffic control strikes that caused days of delays and passenger protests this year.

Tensions rose in September 2006, when two planes collided in over the Amazon, killing 154, and worsened in July, when 199 people died in a crash at Sao Paulo's Congonhas airport.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva appointed former Supreme Court Justice Jobim as defense minister following the Congonhas crash, to help reorganize the industry. Brazil's military oversees its air traffic control system and much of civilian aviation.

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