British Airways operates seven-hour ‘flight to nowhere’ after technical issue

A ‘technical issue’ was detected three hours into the flight

Helen Wilson-Beevers
Thursday 12 January 2023 10:04 GMT
<p>Aircraft reached the Black Sea before pilots made the decision to turn back</p>

Aircraft reached the Black Sea before pilots made the decision to turn back

A British Airways flight to nowhere” spent over seven hours in the air before landing back at departure airport Heathrow, due to a technical issue.

The problem was spotted three hours into flight BA143 as it flew from London Heathrow to Delhi on 10 January.

Flight BA143 departed Heathrow at 11.44am, crossing the whole of continental Europe and reaching the Black Sea before crew detected a “technical issue” and decided to turn back.

The airline said that pilots had chosen to return to Heathrow as a precaution.

The plane landed back at Terminal 5 at 6:24pm, after crew and passengers had already spent almost eight hours onboard.

If the aircraft had successfully completed its journey, the flight would’ve arrived in Delhi roughly eight hours after take-off, landing at 1:15am local time.

The route is a daily British Airways journey travelling between the two cities. It is not known how many passengers were onboard flight BA143, although a plane of this size can accommodate over 200 people.

The term “flight to nowhere” refers to an aircraft which takes off from and returns to the same airport, meaning it doesn’t deliver passengers to a different final destination.

A British Airways spokesperson told The Independent: “Our pilots decided to return to London as a precaution due to a minor technical issue, and the aircraft landed normally.

“We have apologised to our customers for the disruption to their journey and our teams arranged a replacement aircraft which got everyone on their way as quickly as possible.”

“Flights to nowhere” are a semi-regular occurence, with several flights a year having to return to their departure point several hours into a journey due to technical faults or issues with landing in their destination.

In June, Air Greenland was forced to operate a 10-hour “flight to nowhere” after weather conditions made it impossible to land.

Meanwhile, in July an Air New Zealand flight from Christchurch to Shanghai made a 13-hour trip to nowhere “due to a minor abrasion to the windscreen”.

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