On the evening of November 4, 2023, eighty passengers were prevented from boarding an Air Nostrum aircraft that was about to operate a flight between Vigo-Peinador airport (VGO) and Madrid-Barajas (MAD), Spain, to accommodate players and retinue of Sevilla CF, a professional football team that plays in Spain’s La Liga First Division.
Speaking to local media outlets, the affected passengers explained how they were already at the boarding gate when they were told that flight IB8869 (which carries an Iberia designator, but is operated by Air Nostrum, Iberia’s regional franchisee) would not take off.
The reason for the cancellation was that the aircraft meant to operate the flight (a Mitsubishi CRJ-1000 with registration EC-MLC) had been reassigned to fly Sevilla CF back to its home city that same night.
Air Nostrum often operates charter flights for sports teams in Spain and on that particular evening was expected to operate special flight YW2008 from Vigo to Sevilla with Sevilla CF on board, shortly after the latter finished its away game against local side Celta de Vigo.
However, the aircraft originally assigned to fly the football team (another Mitsubishi CRJ-1000) experienced a technical issue, so the airline assigned the passenger aircraft scheduled to fly to Madrid to the service instead.
From the terminal, the indignant passengers could then see how the players and retinue of the football club (56 people in total) were driven to the aircraft while they were left on the ground with the only recourse of filing a cancelation claim to secure alternative means of transportation.
Since this was the last flight of the day between Vigo and Madrid, the 80 passengers were forced to stay overnight. Several travelers with connecting flights were reported to be among the stranded passengers.
Rubbing salt into the wound, passengers on IB8869 had already endured a delay of several hours because of the late arrival of the aircraft.
On November 6, 2023, Air Nostrum published a public note on social media attributing the incident to a “mistake” and taking the blame for the incident. The airline added that over the coming week it would be contacting each of the affected passengers. However, the airline did not provide further details.
AeroTime contacted Air Nostrum for comment.