Miami-Madrid Flight Diverts to Military Base in the Middle of the Atlantic

Jul 28, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Overnight Friday, an Iberia flight from Miami (MIA) to Madrid (MAD) squawked 7700 — indicating an emergency — and diverted to a Portuguese Air Force base in the Azores.

According to FlightRadar24’s tracking of the flight, the pilots began to gradually descend and turn toward Lajes Field on Terceira Island as the flight neared the Azores. At 10:50pm Eastern time and at 23,000 feet, the pilots set the transponder code to 7700, indicating to nearby air traffic of an emergency. It’s unclear if the pilots declared an official emergency, or the lesser “pan-pan” in this situation.

It’s being reported that the pilots received an indication of smoke in the crew rest area. On an A330, the crew rest area is located below the main deck and near the cargo area. Due to the proximity, the pilots may have been concerned of an issue in the cargo hold that the crew was unable to check in-flight.

At 11:34pm Eastern time, the flight safely landed on the military-owned Lajes Field. Thankfully passengers weren’t stuck at the military base for long. After approximately five hours on the ground, the Airbus A330 took off from Terceira at 4:31am Eastern time for the 1,250-mile flight to Madrid. The aircraft landed safely in Madrid at 6:59am Eastern time/12:59pm local time, arriving 5:18 hours after its originally-scheduled arrival time.

Thanks to its long runway and convenient location in the Atlantic, Lajes Field is no stranger to civilian aircraft diversions. Earlier this year, an American Airlines 767 declared an emergency and diverted to the Air Force base after experiencing “multiple system failures.” One of the runway’s most famous diversions happened in 2001 when Air Transat flight 236 developed a leak and ran out of fuel over the Atlantic. Pilots were able to guide the aircraft-turned-glider to the fortuitously located Lajes Field.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.