US Airways flight diverts to Shannon

US Airways flight diverts to Shannon


Shannon%20Airportsifp23[1]A passenger jet had to burn off thousands of litres of fuel before it could safely land in Shannon yesterday (Sunday) after suffering a navigation systems failure which prevented it from crossing the Atlantic.

US Airways flight AWE-711 was travelling from Zurich in Switzerland to Philadelphia in the US and was about 200 kilometres west of the Clare Coast after commencing its oceanic crossing when the problem was first reported.

Shortly after 1.40pm the pilot contacted air traffic controllers in Shannon to inform them that he had no navigation systems and advised them that they would have to divert and land in Shannon.

The crew of the Boeing 767-200 made a u-turn and routed back towards the Clare coast where they entered a holding pattern in an effort to burn off excess fuel. This was to ensure the jet could land within safe landing weight limits.

The pilot confirmed they would have to burn up to 11,000 pounds of fuel before they could commence their approach to Shannon. After spending over an hour circling over the Atlantic off the Clare coast the flight landed safely at Shannon shortly before 3.00pm.

The flight was grounded while engineers investigated the issue. The flight was later cancelled while the 110 passengers and crew were accommodated in hotels in Limerick and Clare last night (Sunday). They were due to return to Shannon early today (Monday) to continue their journey to the US.

It was the third time this month that US Airways flights had to divert to Irish airports.

On May 10th US Airways flight AWE-715 from Venice, Italy to Philadelphia was forced to make a u-turn over the Atlantic and divert to Dublin after crew members fell ill. 9 flight attendants were hospitalised following that diversion.

On May 19th, the same flight, operated by different Airbus A330 aircraft, was also forced to turn around and divert to Dublin after 3 three flight attendants fell ill.

Fumes on board the aircraft are understood to have been the cause of both diversions.

Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.