Palma de Mallorca Airport halts operations due to security incident

Photo: © Aena

Palma de Mallorca Airport in Spain has temporarily halted operations on Friday evening due to a security incident involving a diverted aircraft.

23 passengers from an Air Arabia Maroc flight from Casablanca to Istanbul, that diverted to Mallorca due to an alleged medical emergency, ran onto the airfield. In response, all taxiways and runways were closed for aircraft and a large-scale police operation was launched.

Spanish airport operator Aena confirmed shortly after the suspension of aircraft movements that there has been a security incident involving a flight. The last aircraft to arrive before the closure was a Eurowings flight from Munich, landing at 8:10 pm local time. A total of 13 flights were diverted to other airports in Spain, most of them to Barcelona and Ibiza, according to Aena.

At 11:50 pm on Friday, flight operations at Palma de Mallorca Airport (IATA: PMI) resumed, when a small cargo aircraft took off as the first departure since the temporary closure.

According to media reports, the passenger who caused the medical diversion aboard Air Arabia was in perfect condition and was subsequently arrested in hospital. An accompanying person fled the hospital and is still wanted by police. Investigators told Spanish radio broadcaster Cadener SER that they assume the situation was planned, to get the aircraft to divert to Spain and enter the European country illegally. A further eleven people have been arrested.