Congonhas Airport has placed a restriction on the operations of smaller planes on its main runway, including most executive jets.
The decision was taken by AENA, the Spanish state-owned company that took over management of the São Paulo airport on October 17, 2023 and soon faced a sequence of 3 closures, due to problems with executive aircraft.
The first was on October 29, when a Cirrus Jet ended up on its side on the main runway after a tire burst. Shortly afterwards, on the 1st of this month, an aeromedical turboprop with a patient on board ended up collapsing the front landing gear, with the patient being removed from the aircraft in the middle of the runway. Finally, last Friday, November 3, a Cessna Citation was stopped for a long time on the runway, after the pilot had to use the emergency brake due to a braking failure while landing shortly before the storm that caused extensive damage in São Paulo.
Now, in a document issued by AENA to ANAC, the company mentions that these 3 occurrences caused the airport to close for almost 5 hours combined. The document points out that 85 flights departing or arriving were canceled, in addition to 14 flights diverted to other airports.
The Spanish administrator highlights that in all 3 cases the emergency and aircraft removal plan was activated as planned, in order to minimize greater operational impacts.
“Still, we understand that the risk matrix of incidents involving general aviation at an airport like Congonhas must be reassessed. The probability and severity of the impacts of incidents such as those that occurred this week give rise to measures to organize the use of the infrastructure at Congonhas Airport”, states AENA in the document.
In the end, AENA requests the publication of a public NOTAM (Notification to Aircraft Operators), which has already been approved and is valid. Number F4160/23, the NOTAM is in force until February 2, 2024.
The restriction is for landings and takeoffs at thresholds 17R and 35L, which make up the main runway, for any general or executive aviation aircraft that has a wingspan (dimension from tip to tip of the wings) less than 21 meters, with the exception of operations in conditions CAT I meteorological conditions:
In CAT I, according to the definition presented by the FAB, “a minimum visibility of 800 meters is required as a parameter for continuing the landing approach”. Therefore, if the airport has adverse weather conditions with visibility equal to or less than 800 meters, these planes with a smaller wingspan will be able to land on the main runway in Congonhas.
The reason for this exception is that the instrument landing system (ILS) is only present on the main runway. The presence of the ILS, by the way, is one of the main reasons why many executive plane pilots prefer to land there, for a safer and more precise operation.
In practice, with the 21 meter wingspan restriction, aircraft smaller than a Cessna Citation
Thus, this NOTAM excludes from operation on the main runway all Bombardier Learjet jets, all Embraer jets in production series (Phenom and Legacy), a large part of Cessna’s Citation line, in addition to older models of the Falcon 2000. Turboprops and aircraft piston, practically everyone who regularly operates in Congonhas will be excluded.