The closure of LIM airport has resulted in the following diversions:
- AA A321N from MIA to PTY
- KL B77W from AMS to PTY
- H2 A320N from SCL to SCL
- AV A319 from BOG to BOG
- PU A343 from MAD to IQT
- LA A320 from SCL to AQP
- CM B738 from PTY to PIO
- IB A359 from MAD to BOG
- AF A359 from CDG to PTY
- UA B752 from EWR to EWRhttps://www.flightradar24.com/data/flig ... 6#2e4246db
Why did so many diversions go to PTY? Were CLO or GYE not available?
American ended up flying back to MIA after 9 hours in MIA. PTY is closer to MIA. AA would probably have gone back to MIA if they had enough fuel.
Air France flies to PTY. The airplane is still there, so having ground staff to assist passengers is better.
KLM May have chosen to go to PTY as well since their ground staff would already be helping Air France passengers.
International diversions are a logistics nightmare with the airport not planning the arrival and with passengers not having the appropriate visas. Some airports and immigration authorities are better at handling these situations. ICAO requires countries to grant access to passengers in these situations, but not all countries and airports make it a smooth process. It wouldn’t surprise me if PTY is easier to get immigration approval to offload the passengers and get them to hotels so they don’t have to wait hours on an airplane. Airlines want to avoid having to park an airplane at a remote stand for hours while they try to coordinate logistics. A gas and go isn’t too difficult, but if the crew times out requiring passengers to be offloaded and sent to hotels or if there is an open maintenance logbook item (which is common on long haul flights) that requires a mechanic sign off, it is exponentially more difficult.
Airlines like American, Air France and KLM have lists of diversion airports and what support is available. If a pilot has to go to the nearest suitable alternate for an emergency then the airlines has contacts for what to do. The airline also has preferred alternates. Long haul flights dispatch with an alternate which is typically for weather situations. It’s possible that AF/KL may have GYE as a listed alternate but chose PTY instead since they knew Lima wasn’t opening back up and it had better available ground support