Brazilian aviation authorities braced for the arrival of an anticipated 600,000 foreign fans next month for the World Cup threatened airlines Monday with fines of up to $40,000 for late flights.
International as well as domestic carriers face the sanctions, as do private aircraft, national aviation agency ANAC warned.
"As well as fines, Brazilian pilots operating private planes could have their licenses suspended for up to 180 days and operators could lose requested slots through to the end of the World Cup," an ANAC statement said.
World Cup fans will fly in and out of 88 airports as Brazil welcomes some foreign fans and three million domestic tourists for the June 12-July 13 event.
The host nation has been racing to revamp crumbling infrastructure, notably ageing, often saturated and in some cases near-obsolete airports, but work has fallen behind schedule.
The airport in the northern city of Fortaleza was to have a new terminal in operation but instead only a giant tent will be ready in time for the tournament.
Authorities have also admitted that Rio's international airport could suffer from power outages and Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo last month said several airports were liable to have "operational problems."