Worlds largest passenger jet diverts to Shannon

Worlds largest passenger jet diverts to Shannon

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One of two replacement aircraft arrives at Shannon to take passengers onto London with the A380 in the background – © Pat Flynn, 2014

Almost 500 passengers on a transatlantic flight got more than they bargained for when their flight was diverted twice including to Shannon Airport.

The 10 hour and 15 minute direct flight from Los Angeles in the US should have landed at Heathrow Airport in London at 10.05am yesterday (Thursday) but instead ended up making unscheduled stops in Canada and Ireland.

The British Airways Airbus A380, the largest passenger jet in the world, was forced to divert to Shannon before it’s crew exceeded their legally permitted flying hours despite being just an hour from it’s destination.

British Airways flight BA-282 left Los Angeles in the US on Wednesday at 4.00pm (midnight Wednesday Irish time) bound for London.

Just a few hours into the trip however the flight diverted to Toronto with a suspected technical issue. The A380-800 jet landed in Toronto at 1.07am local time (6.07am Irish time).

When the issue had been resolved, the airline opted to allow the flight continue to Shannon where it landed without the crew exceeding their flying hours.

The airline sent two smaller aircraft to collect the passengers and crew and take them onto Heathrow. A replacement A380 crew was also flown in to take the aircraft back to Heathrow.

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The British Airways Airbus A380 after landing at Shannon – © Pat Flynn, 2014

The massive jet landed in Shannon at 3.50pm had parked on a remote taxiway and the passengers deplaned via portable stairs. While Shannon’s runways and taxiways can accommodate the massive jet however the terminal building or ground crews are not equipped to facilitate the double decker.

A fleet of buses took the passengers to the terminal building until their replacement aircraft arrived.

An airline spokesman said: “The BA282 diverted to Toronto Wednesday night, due to a suspected technical problem. The problem was resolved and the aircraft departed Toronto.”

“There are very strict guidelines on the number of hours that both flight and cabin crew can work. Unfortunately, our crew reached the limit and the aircraft went to Shannon as a result.  We sent two aircraft to Shannon in order to collect customers and get them to London as quickly as possible.

The airline also apologised to passengers for the inconvenience caused.

Last July, British Airways confirmed Shannon Airport as it’s preferred option in Ireland as a diversionary airport if any of it’s transatlantic fleet of Airbus A380’s needed to make an unscheduled landing.

Only one other Airbus A380 has ever divert to Shannon. Last February, an Air France flight travelling from Los Angeles to Paris diverted to Shannon with a medical emergency.

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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.

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  1. “It’s” means “it is” – as in “it’s hot today”.

    Because of this, when denoting possession, no apostrophe is used – “an hour from its destination”.

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