Colombia's Star Alliance member Avianca has activated an emergency plan to respond to the operational chaos that broke out late on 28 November at its Bogota domestic terminal after bad weather and the lack of available crews to operate delayed flights forced it to cancel numerous departures.
The situation became so serious that both the head of Colombia's Civil Aviation Authority Aerocivil, Santiago Castro, and Transport Minister Cecilia Alvarez criticized publicly Avianca.
According to Castro, the meteorological situation "does not explain the problem." "[Avianca] lacks backup crews," he said in public declarations, adding that his institution will investigate Avianca's responsibility and "impose fines" if necessary.
Minister Castro described the situation saying that more than 1,000 people, many of them families, were forced to stay overnight at the terminal without receiving attention from the airline. "The system broke down and the [airline] personnel are overwhelmed with the situation", she declared.
Local media say that Avianca cancelled 44 flights on 28 November and on certain flights passengers were forced to remain on board of delayed aircraft for up to 12h.
In response to the situation, Avianca has rolled out today an operational emergency plan, which includes a temporary contingency flight schedule, canceling flights to secondary destinations while prioritising flights on high volume routes and giving preference to connecting passengers.