Guayaquil Mayor Blocks Runway To Stop Rescue Flights

Filed Under: Travel

As flights between various countries are being canceled due to new immigration restrictions and border closures, we’re seeing quite a few airlines offering repatriation flights, to bring home citizens.

Both Iberia and KLM flew planes to Ecuador yesterday (to bring home Spanish and Dutch nationals, respectively), but things seemingly didn’t go as planned.

Let’s take the Iberia flight, for example, which was supposed to fly from Madrid to Guayaquil. While the flight was scheduled to operate to Guayaquil, during the flight the crew was informed they wouldn’t be allowed to land there, and would have to divert to Quito.

The mayor of Guayaquil takes credit for this decision, explaining she would do it again to “protect the city from the arrival of people who may have caught coronavirus.”

Of course the catch here is that the flights only had the crews onboard, which were supposed to spend a night in Guayaquil before returning home — they were trying to bring people out of the country, rather than get people in.

If she was so concerned, it seems like there could have been other solutions, like allowing the planes to land, but demanding that the crew stay in their hotel rooms for the entire layover. The decision seems more motivated by scoring some political points, rather than looking out for the best interesting of people.

To be extra safe (perhaps even paranoid?), the mayor had the police physically block the runway in Guayaquil, even though the planes came nowhere close to landing at the airport. While the flights did divert, that was done well before approach, and in the end the planes just had a normal route to Quito.

The Ministry of Transport and Public Works allegedly opposed the decision of the government of Guayaquil.

The flights in question were Iberia 6453, operated by an Airbus A340-600, as well as KLM 755, operated by a 777-200.

  1. trump is not the only one putting personal political interests over public needs.

    Misery loves company…

  2. Very irresponsible decision. Not only did she attempt to deteriorate diplomatic ties with the two other countries, but she also jeopardized the country’s health by having more locals interact with a group of people who may or may not have been infected.

    As a complement to what @Alex said: karma is a b**ch

  3. Reminds me of the situation facing John Testrake, the captain of TWA flight 847 as it attempted to land at Beirut following its hijacking. The officials controlling the airport attempted to block the runway, but Testrake called their bluff by continuing his approach in a game of chicken. The officials blinked first and cleared the runway just in time for the Boeing 727 to land.

  4. As far as I understand the flight may also have carried Ecuadorean nationals returning home

    So much for taking care of your own citizens

    Trump also asked Americans to return home. Good luck if they are in Guayaquil and other countries where airports are closed such as Lima

  5. I stand corrected. I just saw videos of Iberia and KLM aircraft. Indeed they were empty departing Amsterdam and Madrid

  6. All these little towns and provinces all over the world with their tinpot dictators trying to run the show. Look at the counties in lock-down in the US and elsewhere.

  7. I guess she wanted to keep any infected people in her city since she didn’t want them leaving.

  8. @Rodents, be advised that this blog is for adults. Your childish immature comments are for the sandbox. Please get back in and play like a good little boy.

  9. She didn’t want possibly infected Spanish and Dutch nationals from all over Ecuador assembling in her city to catch their return flights home.

  10. “The decision seems more motivated by scoring some political points, rather than looking out for the best interesting of people.”

    Welcome to the government of Ecuador!

  11. Many Galápagos tours leave from Guayaquil, a city well worth avoiding. It’s humid, has no sights of interest (not even a beach), and has a sky high crime rate. Try to leave from Quito instead.

  12. @Rodents~ fake news! Fortunately so idiotic even the thickest will not believe it. Cute name too; it suits you.

  13. Only in a third world country.

    You would never, ever see this happen in a place like, for example, Chicago.

  14. I’m not sure if I’m buying all of this talk of a coronavirus. I haven’t seen it affect me or my husband and we are planning to do a trip to Florida this summer (we live in beautiful Ohio).

  15. @smarttravelar

    What travelar means?

    May be the opposite is true, plus also a very selfish individual as well.

    So over 7,000 people in NY alone are sick, 20% are hospitalized, and 30% of them in ICU, not to mention the deaths, plus soon there will be millions out of the work due to the coronavirus, and just because you dont see it much affect you and your husband, therefore it does not matter…

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