SPAIN- Air Nostrum (YW) faced criticism for canceling a planned passenger flight from Vigo (VGO) to Madrid (MAD) in order to prioritize the transportation of the Spanish football club Sevilla FC.
This controversial choice by the Spanish airline resulted in 80 passengers having to endure a bus journey of 600 km (372 miles) to Madrid, taking approximately four hours longer than the initially scheduled one-hour flight.
Football Players Hijack (Cut-in-Line) Flight
The incident unfolded on the evening of November 4th when flight IB8869 from Vigo (VGO) to Madrid (MAD) was abruptly canceled, with the aircraft redirected to operate a charter flight to Seville (SVQ).
Air Nostrum seemingly had to utilize one of its regular jets as it couldn’t employ the originally chartered aircraft for Sevilla FC due to a technical issue. Sevilla FC had been in Vigo for a match against Celta Vigo, which concluded in a 1-1 draw.
The plane utilized for the journey to Seville was the EC-MLC, a CRJ1000 operated by Air Nostrum on behalf of Iberia Regional.
Iberia provides service to Vigo, with up to four daily flights from Madrid, one of which is operated by Air Nostrum. The remaining services are carried out using Iberia’s Airbus A320 family aircraft.
The episode has garnered widespread coverage in the Spanish national media, with accounts of passengers experiencing disruptions to international connections and crucial appointments due to the cancellation.
A passenger affected by the incident was quoted by the Spanish newspaper El País, expressing the sentiment,
“That only happens in a banana republic. Football is allowed to take everything and everyone by surprise.”
In a statement released by Air Nostrum on X (previously known as Twitter), the airline extended a sincere apology for the incident. It announced its intention to reach out to all affected passengers within the next week to provide compensation for the inconvenience caused:
About Air Nostrum and Aircraft
The specified flight was conducted using one of Air Nostrum’s Mitsubishi CRJ1000s. The aircraft, bearing the registration EC-MLC, is among the 27 CRJ1000s in the airline’s fleet, each configured with 100 seats in an all-economy layout.
Presently, Air Nostrum stands as one of the few remaining global operators of the CRJ1000, as indicated by the latest data from ch-aviation. Additionally, Air Nostrum operates six CRJ200ERs, one CRJ900, and 11 ATR 72-600s, with the collective fleet averaging an age of 14.8 years.
Following its arrival in Seville on the evening of November 4th, EC-MLC returned to its home base at Madrid’s Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas International Airport.
Since then, it has been engaged in a series of domestic and regional flights, with destinations including Mahón (MAH), Turin (TRN), and Alicante (ALC) over the past few days, as observed on Flightradar24.
Air Nostrum maintains two additional operating bases apart from Madrid, namely Barcelona (BCN) and Valencia (VLC).
Note: “Hijack” term is used as a metaphor and has been written to highlight the airline’s mishandling and unfair treatment of its passengers.
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