After preliminary investigations into the crash reportedly revealed that the airline had some “irregularities” on the day of the ill-fated flight, the burning question is: could the Brazilian soccer team plane crash have been prevented?
The LaMia 2933 flight was en route to Colombia with the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense when it crashed. Out of the plane’s 77 passengers and crew, only six people survived.
According to the Telegraph, the disaster happened Monday night as the plane approached Medellin, Colombia. The team was due to play the first leg of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional.
Many Brazilians and soccer fans around the globe mourned the loss of many of the Chapecoense squad. But was the ill-fated flight doomed to begin with? A quick look at Lamia’s background seemed to reveal nomalies that should have been a red flag to anyone wishing to avail of its services.
According to Yahoo, LaMia (Línea Aérea Mérida Internacional de Aviación) is a small airline owned by Venezuelan businessman and former politician Ricardo Albacete. Founded in the state of Mérida, the airline currently operates out of Bolivia at the time of the Brazilian soccer team plane crash.
LaMia Tried Three Times To Secure Permits To Operate?
According to Panam Post, the airline’s history was a tumultuous one to say the least. Founded in 2009, the airline tried to operate with just one jet which it had leased from Swiftair in Spain. However, it was unable to obtain its own operator’s papers and ceased operations the following year.
LaMia attempted to relaunch in 2011 with a focus on domestic routes in Venezuela, which also ended in failure. Its third try to get off the ground also didn’t fare any better. It was not after the airline move to Bolivia that it got the necessary permits to operate.
The airline provides chartered flights for various clients. However, it seems to be quite popular with South American soccer teams, transporting them across the continent to their leagues. Lionel Messi and his team reportedly used the jet to fly from Belo Horizonte to Buenos Aires just 18 days before the disaster.
Airline Not Allowed To Leave Sao Paulo On The Eve Of The Brazilian Soccer Team Plane Crash?
On the eve of the ill-fated flight, LaMia was not allowed to leave Sao Paulo due to legal impediments, according to the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) of Brazil. The club was warned of this saying that “the route could only be operated by a Brazilian or Colombian company.” However, Chapecoense chose to keep the flight with the airline due to its “expert” reputation for transporting professional soccer teams.
But as they say, hindsight is 20/20. There were a lot of probabilities that could have prevented the disaster from taking place. However, the only thing the sports and aviation world can do is to learn from the lessons of the Brazilian soccer team plane crash and make sure it will never happen again.