<p>Long way home: the flight path of British Airways flight BA260 from Tashkent to London Heathrow</p>

Long way home: the flight path of British Airways flight BA260 from Tashkent to London Heathrow

British Airways flight from Pakistan arrives at Heathrow 28 hours late after Uzbekistan diversion

Plane landed at Tashkent after departure from Islamabad because of a medical emergency

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Thursday 23 September 2021 10:58
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Hundreds of British Airways passengers from Pakistan have finally arrived at London Heathrow almost 28 hours late after an unscheduled landing in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Flight BA260 from Islamabad to London Heathrow departed in the early hours of Wednesday morning and was due to land at 5.05am, UK time.

The Boeing 777 was expected to be the first aircraft to arrive in the UK following the removal of red list status from Pakistan – as well as Turkey, Egypt and five other countries – at 4am. As a result, it was almost full.

But when a passenger fell ill the plane diverted to the Uzbek capital, Tashkent. The passenger, believed to be an 83-year-old woman, subsequently died.

The pilots had intended to continue to the UK, but what BA describes as a “minor technical issue” meant that the aircraft could not leave.

A replacement aircraft was readied to fly out to rescue the passengers.

BA has no staff in the Uzbek capital. Initially passengers were provided with food and water on board the plane. Then they were moved to a lounge area inside the Soviet-era airport, while the flight crew were accommodated at a nearby hotel.

On Twitter, @Wali tweeted: “Shame on British Airways. Left BA260 passengers at Tashkent airport helpless without food for more than 28 hours.

“Captain and crew left passengers at lounge and went to hotel. No care at all. Passengers including 10-month-old baby to wheelchair users.”

The replacement aircraft, sent empty from London, arrived in Tashkent just after 3am local time on Thursday – 27 hours after the diverted plane touched down. It stayed on the ground for nearly three hours for refuelling and formalities.

The Boeing 777 departed at 5.47am local time. Because of restrictions on overflying eastern Ukraine and Belarus, it had to take a longer, more northerly route. It eventually arrived at Heathrow at 8.44am – almost 28 hours behind schedule.

A British Airways spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with our customer’s family and friends at this sad time.

“We are sorry for the inconvenience to our customers, but the safety of our passengers and crew is always our highest priority.”

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