Jet diverts to Shannon with fuel leak for second time in a...

Jet diverts to Shannon with fuel leak for second time in a month


Photo: © Pat Flynn 2019

A transatlantic jet has diverted to Shannon Airport after the crew declared an emergency over Co Donegal, reporting a fuel leak on board.

It’s the third time in less than a month that the same jet was forced to make an unscheduled landing as a result of a fuel leak. On November 18th the same plane diverted to Shannon Airport with the same issue.

The plane also diverted to Manchester Airport yesterday with a suspected fuel leak. The flight was travelling from Paris to Chicago in the U.S. at the time.

Tonight’s incident occurred as the aircraft was being flown back to Chicago from Manchester following Sunday’s diversion. The flight left Manchester shortly after 5.00pm yesterday with a crew of 11.

The airline confirmed the flight was operating a ‘cargo sector’ so there were no passengers on board.

About 40 minutes after take-off the crew of the Boeing 767-300(ER) jet declared an emergency over Donegal. The crew advised air traffic controllers they had a suspected fuel and wished to divert to Shannon Airport.

While routing towards Shannon, the crew downgraded their emergency to a ‘Pan-pan’ alert which is less serious. On the ground however, airport fire and rescue crews were mobilised to positions alongside the runway ahead of the jet’s arrival.

The flight landed safely at 6.20pm and was pursued along the runway by fire crews who also accompanied the aircraft to the terminal. Airport operations were not affected during the incident.

An airline spokesman said: “United flight 2768, operating as a cargo sector from Manchester Airport to Chicago O’Hare Airport, diverted to Shannon Airport because of a mechanical issue. The aircraft landed safely at 6:25 p.m.. As this was operating as  cargo sector, there were no customers on board. At this point in time, a departure time from Shannon has not yet been confirmed.”

The same aircraft diverted to Shannon with a fuel leak on November 18th – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2019

Just last month, the same aircraft diverted to Shannon Airport after the crew also reported a fuel leak.

On November 18th, the jet was operating as flight UA-973, travelling from Brussels, Belgium to Chicago in the U.S., when the crew made the unscheduled landing at the mid-west airport. There were 164 passengers a crew of 11 on board at the time.

The jet was cleared to turn around and divert to Shannon where it touched down safely. Airport fire and rescue crews were standing by for the aircraft. A replacement was flown in the following day to take the passengers to their destination.

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.