A Latam flight going from Guarulhos airport, in São Paulo, to São José do Rio Preto, in the interior of São Paulo, experienced an incident this Tuesday (14). The crew made a mistaken approach to another runway, that of the Aeroclube de Catanduva.
The pilot appears to have only noticed the confusion after guidance from a radio service operator — known in aviation as Afis —, since São José do Rio Preto does not have a control tower. Afis aims to provide information that ensures the efficient conduct of air traffic at approved or registered airports, which do not have the so-called ATC, an acronym for Air Traffic Control, or Air Traffic Control.
“You are visual with Catanduva”, the operator warned the pilot responsible for communication in the cockpit.
The Catanduva runway does not accommodate the A320, the aircraft model used by Latam on the route. The blog found that the pilots on flight LA4640 suspected a discrepancy in the aircraft’s GPS data, which was not confirmed.
After confirmation by the crew that the landing approach would take place on the wrong runway, the plane turned around and continued to São José do Rio Preto airport, since the Catanduva runway, short and narrow, is unsuitable for landing jets from the size of the Airbus A320 that operated the Latam flight. The go-around is a safe procedure in aviation and does not pose a risk to flight safety.
The airline commented in a note:
“LATAM Airlines Brasil informs that flight LA4640 (São Paulo/Guarulhos-São José do Rio Preto) today (11/14) landed safely at São José do Rio Preto airport at 9:31 am. All passengers were disembarked normally. The aircraft began its descent from Catanduva to its final destination. LATAM reinforces that all its actions aim to ensure safe operation.”