A US-bound passenger jet dumped thousands of litres of fuel before diverting to Shannon Airport last night after developing a technical problem over the Atlantic.
British Airways flight BAW-215 was en route from London Heathrow to Boston when the crew informed air traffic controllers that they had a technical issue on board.
It’s understood that a fault developed in one of the jet’s generators and that the crew had to switch over to a back-up unit.
The Boeing 777-200ER had just crossed the Mayo coast and about to begin it’s oceanic crossing when the crew requested permission to descend from 36,000 feet.
The crew had been in contact withe the Irish Aviation Authority’s North Atlantic Communications Service centre at Ballygirreen in Co. Clare at the time.
After being cleared to do so, the flight deviated from it’s assigned routing and turned north while continuing to descend to 26,000 feet. The jet made a u-turn west of Donegal and routed south towards Shannon.
The crew had tried to trouble shoot the issue and had also been in contact with their operations centre at Heathrow before it was decided that they should divert to Shannon.
After requesting clearance to divert the crew also sought permission to dump fuel so that they could land within safe landing weight limits.
The ‘fuel jettison procedures’ took about 30 minutes and resulted in several tonnes of aviation fuel being dumped over the Atlantic before the jet could commence its approach to land.
The flights approach to Shannon was also delayed while flight attendants prepared the aircraft for landing. It’s understood that the crew was in the middle of a food service at the time of the diversion.
The jet touched down safely at 6.58pm and was quickly pursued along the runway by crash and rescue crews.
The aircraft was able to taxi to the terminal building where fire crews carried out an inspection of the aircraft.
Engineers investigated the issue and the flight continued its journey shortly after 9.00pm.
Just 12 months ago, on November 14th 2013, the same jet made an emergency landing at Shannon after the crew reported smoke on board.
Flight 173 was travelling from London to New York and was over two hours into its journey when it turned around and diverted to Shannon. The plane landed safely shortly and was met by emergency services.