International sports tournaments have the ability to bring the world together like no other occasion, as people from all over the globe gather in one place to cheer their team on.

Football’s World Cup is one of these special occasions. The 2014 tournament, held throughout Brazil in 12 stadiums in 12 cities, attracted almost 3.5 million spectators over the course of the tournament. Of that, over a million were international visitors (enough to fill nearly 2,500 jumbo jets!).

Without the vital air links provided, this simply would not be possible. During the event, Brazil experienced 16.7 million passenger movements, which was an 11.2% increase from the same time frame the previous year.

Brazil is a large country, so for the most dedicated fans, getting from one venue to another meant that flying was the only option. The teams also relied on air travel to get to the venues. Together, the squads flew 280,000 kilometres, which is equal to seven laps around the world.

In terms of air transport investment, the arrival of the World Cup allowed Brazil to invest heavily in its aviation infrastructure, with a total of $3.92 billion put forward by the government, resulting in a 52% increase in capacity that will serve Brazil well in years to come.

Having so many visitors fly in for such a major global event, of course, means a big boost for the local economy, with new job opportunities arising to cope with the influx. According to FIFA, 14 million jobs were created in the four years leading up to the tournament.

Brazilian airline, GOL, also took advantage of the country being under the spotlight to showcase their environmental action. During the tournament, GOL contributed to the ‘Green Cup’ initiative by running 200 flights between host cities on sustainable alternative fuel.