A number of major international airlines are said to be urgently reviewing their security arrangements in Buenos Aires after several members of cabin crew for low-cost long-haul airline Norwegian were robbed at gunpoint outside the airline’s layover hotel in the Argentinian capital.
The details of what happened on Saturday morning are still sketchy with several sources claiming a group of Norwegian cabin crew were attacked by armed assailants as they were getting into an airport shuttle bus right outside the hotel. Other sources say the incident happened in broad daylight in a busy part of Buenos Aires close to the hotel.
All crew members involved in the terrifying incident are said to be safe, although at least one was taken to a local hospital to be checked over before being released. The attack is now being investigated by local police but it’s not known whether any suspects have yet been identified or arrested.
We’ve reached out to Norwegian for comment but are yet to receive an update from the airline.
The layover hotel where the attack is believed to have taken place is also used by a number of major international airlines from the United States, the Middle East and Europe. Corporate security teams from at least two airlines are said to be carrying out a review of security arrangements in the city.
The State Department warns that street crime is a continuing “problem” in Buenos Aires with muggers, pickpockets and purse-snatchers a common occurrence. The popular and colourful La Boca neighbourhood is said to be particularly dangerous for unsuspecting tourists, with violent robberies reported during the day, as well as after dark.
The incident comes five months after a group of cabin crew for Spanish carrier Air Europa were shot at by armed robbers as they approached their downtown layover hotel in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. No one was harmed in that incident and the attackers were luckily scared off by hotel security guards who returned fire.
The robbery came at the height of political unrest in the South American country and when other airlines had stopped night stopping their crew in Caracas. Most airlines have since restarted direct flights to the city after the political situation stabilised, although U.S. airlines are still banned from operating flights to Venezuela.
Norwegian has been flying to Buenos Aires from London Gatwick since February 2018. Around nine months later, Norwegian also started its own domestic service in the country after Argentinian authorities finally gave the green light for the expansion of low-cost operators into the aviation market.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently used by some of the biggest names in journalism.