SOME passengers hoping to travel from London Heathrow to Gibraltar yesterday (May 10) were refused boarding as the airline considered that the plane might have to be diverted to Malaga and refused to allow anyone without Spanish residencia to travel.
In the event, the plane landed without difficulty in Gibraltar and the passengers who weren’t allowed to travel were booked on a flight the following day and were put up in a hotel at BA expense.
As the runway at Gibraltar is quite short and has sea at either end, it is not unusual for flights to divert to Malaga if cross-winds are very strong.
At one time, before going to Malaga, the planes had to land in Tangiers where passengers were offloaded and then reboarded so that the paperwork would show that they had arrived from Morocco.
According to a Gibraltar Government Minister, Samantha Sacramento, the airline had made a mistake and the matter was being discussed with BA in case the problem arises again.
There is some speculation as to how the Spanish authorities would have reacted had passengers without residencia arrived on the flight if it had landed in Malaga, even though all were to be bused to Gibraltar with no stopovers in Spain.