A transatlantic cargo flight was forced to return to Shannon Airport with a technical issue this afternoon and then had to abort its first attempt at landing.
Western Global Airlines flight 2101 had just taken off for Columbus, Ohio in the United States (U.S.) when the crew had to turn around.
The crew of the McDonnell Douglas MD-11F cargo jet reported they had problems with their navigation systems and wished to return to the airport.
The flight had taken off at around 2.38pm and was overhead Co Galway when the crew advised air traffic controllers of their issue. The crew also confirmed they would need to dump aviation fuel before returning to land at Shannon. This was to ensure the aircraft touched down within safe landing weight limits.
The flight levelled off at 20,000ft and routed south for almost 200 kilometres over counties Clare, Kerry and Cork. The crew spent about 20 minutes dumping fuel before commencing an approach to Shannon.
While the crew did not declare an emergency, airport fire and rescue crews were placed on standby at Shannon ahead of the jet’s arrival.
The flight was less than a minute from landing at Shannon when the pilots confirmed they were carrying out a ‘missed approach’ and climbed again. It’s understood they opted to abort the landing and ‘go around’ as a result of the poor visibility at the airport at the time.
The flight was routed around for a second attempt at landing before touching down safely at 3.53pm. The aircraft was pursued along the runway by airport fire crews and accompanied to the terminal where engineers were waiting to investigate the issue.