An Aer Lingus flight was forced to return to Dublin Airport this morning after the crew reported a ‘smell’ on board.
Flight EI-776 from Dublin to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands departed at around 7.50am and was about 30 minutes into its journey when the flight crew advised air traffic controllers that they would need to return to Dublin.
The crew had been in contact with the airline’s operations centre and advised them that the cabin crew had detected a smell in the passenger cabin. The flight crew reported that no one had displayed any signs of being affected by the smell but that they would monitor the situation for a while.
Soon afterwards, when the Airbus A320-200 jet was about 100 kilometres south of Cork, the flight further advised air traffic control that cabin crew members had reported experiencing some side effects.
It’s understood that while the flight attendants were not feeling unwell, they were experiencing ‘watery and itchy eyes’. As a result, the pilot opted to return to Dublin to have the issue investigated. It’s not known whether any passengers were affected.
The pilot also told controllers they believed the smell may have originated in the plane’s air conditioning system. The crew did not declare an emergency and confirmed they would not require any services on arrival at Dublin.
The flight was cleared to a lower altitude to allow the crew to burn off aviation fuel to ensure the flight touched down within safe landing weight limits.
While a comment has been sought from Aer Lingus, an airline source confirmed there was an issue with a smell on board and that the crew decided to return as a precaution.
The source added that one passenger complained of feeling ‘nauseous’ which ‘may not have been linked to the odour.’ Ambulance paramedics were requested to meet the aircraft on arrival as a precaution, the source said.
The flight landed safely in Dublin at 9.05am and was met at the terminal by ground crews and engineers.
The passengers are expected to resume their journey later this morning.
An airline spokesperson said: "Aer Lingus flight EI776 from Dublin to Lanzarote departed Dublin at 07:28 local time and was required to turn back shortly after take-off due to a technical issue. The aircraft landed safely at Dublin Airport at 09:06. Guests are being re-accommodated on a different aircraft with a new departure time of 13:00 local time, arriving at Lanzarote at 17:00 local time. Guests have been issued with meal vouchers.
"Subsequently the returning EI777 has been delayed with a new departure time at Lanzarote of 17:50 local arriving into Dublin at 21:55 local time. Guests in Lanzarote have been advised of their new departure time by text and email, and guests at the airport provided with meal vouchers. Aer Lingus would like to apologise for the delay to affected guests,” the airline added.