Emirates EK29 diverted to Glasgow after A380 attempted twice at London Heathrow

An Emirates flight from Dubai to London Heathrow was diverted to Glasgow on July 15, 2023, after the Airbus A380 aircraft (Reg. A6-EOW) failed to land twice at the busy airport due to strong winds. The flight, EK29, was supposed to land at Heathrow at 14:25 BST but had to abort its landing attempts on runway 27L and go around. The pilots then decided to divert to Glasgow, where they landed safely at 15:25 BST.

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What caused the diversion?

According to reports, the diversion was caused by adverse weather conditions at Heathrow, which affected several flights that day. The Met Office said that wind gusts in the area were reaching as high as 48 miles per hour, making it difficult for planes to land safely. Heathrow Airport also canceled the runway alternation that day at 15:00, meaning that flights had to land on runway 27L only. This runway is located close to some hangars, which can cause turbulence for landing aircraft due to the wind direction. The Emirates flight EK29 was not the only one that faced problems at Heathrow that day. Another Emirates flight, EK1, from Dubai to Heathrow, declared an emergency in mid-air and diverted to Gatwick after trying to land at Heathrow and going around⁵. The flight landed safely at Gatwick at 12:05 BST.


How did Emirates handle the situation?

Emirates confirmed the incident in a statement and apologized for any inconvenience caused to its passengers. The airline said that it was working closely with the authorities and industry partners to ensure the safety and comfort of its passengers and crew.

“Due to adverse weather conditions, Emirates flight EK29 from Dubai to London Heathrow on 15 July 2023 diverted to Glasgow. The flight terminated at Glasgow and all passengers were re-booked on alternative flights. Consequently, flight EK30 (from London Heathrow to Dubai) on 15 July 2023 was canceled and all passengers will be re-booked on alternative flights. Emirates apologizes for any inconvenience caused. The safety of our passengers and crew is of the utmost importance,” Emirates said in its statement. The airline also expressed its gratitude to its passengers for their understanding and cooperation during these challenging times. “We thank our guests for their continued trust and support as we navigate through these unprecedented times. We remain committed to providing our guests with a safe and comfortable travel experience,” Emirates added.

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What are the implications of such diversions?

The diversions of Emirates flights highlight the challenges that airlines face in operating in busy and congested airports such as Heathrow, especially during bad weather conditions. Such diversions can cause significant delays, disruptions, and costs for both airlines and passengers, as well as affect the airport capacity and efficiency. According to a report by Eurocontrol, the European organization for air traffic management, Heathrow is one of the most delayed airports in Europe, with an average delay of 18 minutes per flight in 2022. The report also said that Heathrow is operating at almost full capacity, with no room for expansion or flexibility. The report suggested that increasing the airport capacity and improving the operational performance are essential for reducing delays and enhancing the passenger experience. Emirates is one of the largest operators of A380 aircraft in the world, with a fleet of over 100 of these superjumbos. The airline flies daily from Dubai to several destinations in Europe, including London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Zurich, Munich, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. The A380 is known for its spaciousness, comfort, and luxury features, such as private suites, shower spas, onboard lounges, and inflight entertainment systems.

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