On Wednesday, a group of around 30 football fans invaded the Bogota International Airport’s runway and stopped a LATAM Airlines Group domestic flight from departing. The sports aficionados were angry after LATAM had to cancel a flight they were onboard that was carrying them to a football match in the city of Pereira. Let’s investigate further.
Earlier this week, LATAM had to cancel flight 4210 between Bogota and Pereira due to bad weather and low visibility on the destination.
On board flight 4210, there were many football fans from Atlético Nacional (a squad based in Medellin). They were traveling to Pereira and attending a match between Atlético and Deportivo Pereira (the latter ended up winning 1-0).
The flight returned to Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport. LATAM used an Airbus A320, registration CC-BAM, on the flight.
Additionally, the carrier offered to carry the passengers on the same flight the next day and provided food and a hotel room. In some cases, it even offered other alternatives and flights on rival companies, said LATAM.
Hacia las 8:22 am los pasajeros proponen tomarse la pista en forma de protesta y exigiendo soluciones.. pic.twitter.com/14dX5EVM9F
— Martín Suárez (@Beyourself777) November 24, 2021
In the end, it didn’t matter
Despite the offerings by LATAM, a group of travelers was still angry. LATAM explained,
“However, even though Pereira International Airport was closed, we had an incident with a group of 30 passengers that were onboard the flight, looking to assist a sports event in Pereira. These passengers, without authorization, entered the runway and blocked the airstair of one of LATAM’s aircraft, blocking the disembarkation of the LA4190 flight between Bogota and Monteria.”
According to the local newspaper Semana, the aircraft operating flight LA4190 was the same that was supposed to go to Pereira earlier. After LATAM canceled the flight, it rescheduled the A319 to run a new commercial service.
The carrier called the police. All the parties involved resolved the issue, and by 10:44, local time, the 30 people on the platform exited the airport and accepted the proposed solutions by LATAM.
They will face charges
The passengers involved in Wednesday’s incident will face charges, said Colombia’s Civil Aviation authorities. According to the law, anyone that executes acts of disturbance onboard the aircraft or in the boarding lounges, counters, or other airport facilities, could face a fine of up to 7 million Colombian pesos (approximately US$1,760).
Additionally, Aerocivil invited travelers to know their duties and rights, established in the Aeronautical Regulations in Colombia. Aerocivil also asked carriers to inform the flying public of their responsibilities and rights, therefore avoiding “de facto measures that could be severely sanctioned by the competent authorities in Colombia and the world,” as reported by Remo News.
Currently, LATAM is operating approximately 145 daily flights in Colombia. It has had a 119% recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in this segment. Meanwhile, its international route has only recovered by 47%; LATAM offers service to four international destinations. Finally, in November, LATAM Colombia launched a new domestic route, Bogota-Yopal.
What do you think about this incident between football fans and LATAM Colombia? Let us know in the comments below.