Qatar plane lands at London Heathrow Airport
© Gemma Evans

Storm Eunice swept across southern England yesterday, wreaking widespread havoc with power supplies, infrastructure and transportation – both on the ground and in the air.

Whilst some members of the public flocked to social media to share their own experiences, others were tuning in to Big Jet TV to watch skilled pilots battle the elements as they attempted to land at London’s Heathrow Airport during the midst of the storm.

The gale-force winds lead to many go-arounds, when a pilot aborts a landing on its final approach, and in some instances caused flights to be diverted to different airports.

air traffic controller in a control tower
Air traffic controllers can also initiate go-arounds for various reasons, including poor weather | © Petar Marjanovic

Passengers are often left surprised, and understandably frustrated, when a diversion as a result of poor weather leads them to an airport hundreds of miles from their original destination.

While diversions of this nature are reasonably rare, and to different countries even more so, the widespread weather problems across northwest Europe yesterday meant airlines and air traffic controllers were scrambling for airports with a) better weather, b) ideally airline staff onsite, and c) infrastructure to disembark passengers and cargo.

Flightradar24 tracked some of the most extreme diversions made as a result of Storm Eunice:

  • TAP Air Portugal flight TP1354 from Lisbon to London Heathrow was diverted to Paris, France

Distance from original airport: 344 kilometres

  • British Airways flight BA583 from Venice to London Heathrow was diverted to Newcastle, UK

Distance from original airport: 398 kilometres

  • British Airways flight BA296 from Chicago to London Heathrow was diverted to Geneva, Switzerland

Distance from original airport: 755 kilometres

  • Ryanair flight FR3806 from Fuerteventura to Manchester was diverted to Bordeux, France

Distance from original airport: 971 kilometres

  • Ryanair flight FR4967 from Lamezia Terme, Italy to London Heathrow was diverted to Oslo, Norway

Distance from original airport: 1,131 kilometres

Whilst the inconvenience of being flown to an entirely different country cannot be understated, especially when aircraft often get within a stone’s throw of their intended destinations, airlines of course have a responsibility to get passengers to their original destination at no extra cost, and often even pay compensation as a result of major delays.

After what has been a testing period for both pilots and air traffic control staff across northwest Europe, those inconvenienced will hopefully be able to look back and be thankful there was no danger to life for air passengers in the region – a testament to both the highly-skilled professions.

Were you affected by Storm Eunice? Let us know you experiences in the comments below.


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