A transatlantic passenger jet has made an emergency landing at Shannon Airport this evening after the crew reported they had a suspected fire on board.
British Airways flight BA-179 was en route from London to New York at the time.
Shortly after 7.30pm, while the Boeing 777-300 jet was north of Enniscrone in Sligo, the crew declared an emergency and advised air traffic controllers that they wished to divert to Shannon Airport.
The crew advised controllers that they would require to dump aviation fuel while routing towards Shannon. The pilots confirmed they had received an alarm in the cockpit indicating there was a fire in the rear of the aircraft.
The crew jettisoned fuel while making their way to Shannon and then entered a holding pattern north of the airport for a short time so they could go through their checklists.
The flight landed safely at 7.41pm and was met on arrival by airport fire and rescue crews. Firefighters carried out an external visual inspection of the aircraft to check for any evidence of fire.
Once it was confirmed that fire crews could see no sign of fire, the aircraft exited the runway and stopped on a taxiway so that fire personnel could carry out a further inspection of the fuselage using thermal imaging cameras. Once this had been completed, the jet taxied to the terminal building where it was met by airport authorities, ground crews and engineers.
According to passengers, an acrid smell was detected in the rear cabin. It’s believed that one or more ovens in the aft galley began to smoke. The crew disconnect electrical power to the galley area in an effort to isolate the problem.
After landing, the passengers were directed to the transit lounge to await news of whether the flight would continue or be cancelled.
Fire crews remained with the aircraft for a time however it’s understood the fire indication was a false alarm. It’s not clear whether the flight will continue its journey to New York tonight.
This evening’s diversion was the second emergency at Shannon Airport today.
This morning, a Delta Airlines flight from the U.S. to London made an emergency medical diversion to Shannon. Flight DL-32 was travelling from Atlanta in the U.S. state of Georgia to London's Heathrow Airport at the time.
The Airbus A330-200 jet was about two hours west of Shannon when the crew informed air traffic controllers that they wished to divert to seek medical attention for a passenger.
The flight landed safely at 9.39am and was met at the terminal by airport staff, ground crews and National Ambulance Service paramedics. The passenger was removed to University Hospital Limerick for treatment.
The flight resumed its journey to Heathrow at 11.20am.