One of over 40 aircraft taking part in the effort to repatriate 150,000 Thomas Cook holidaymakers was forced to divert to Shannon Airport last night after suffering technical issues off the southwest coast.
Atlas Air flight GTI-2868 was on its way to Orlando, Florida in the US to collect passengers left stranded there by the collapse of the holiday company. The same aircraft had earlier repatriated hundreds of passengers from New York to Manchester.
Flight 2868 departed Manchester at around 7.30pm yesterday and was on its way to Orlando to collect more stranded travellers when the crew reported the problem. There were 20 crew members on board but no passengers.
The Boeing 747-400 jet was about 500km southwest of Shannon when the crew entered a holding pattern over the ocean while they attempted to troubleshoot the issue.
The pilot confirmed they had suffered a systems malfunction that wouldn’t allow them to continue across the Atlantic and after circling for a time, opted to divert to Shannon to refuel and continue later.
The crew turned around and rerouted to Shannon where they landed safely at 10.20pm.
The flight was scheduled to continue to Florida at around midnight after the aircraft had been refuelled and the crew received a new flight plan. However, the jet was instead towed from the terminal to a remote parking stand where it remained for the night.
The flight continued its journey to Orlando at 1.30pm today.
On Sunday, three Boeing 767 jets were flown from Miami in the US to Shannon Airport where they remained on standby to take part in the repatriation effort when it got underway yesterday.
Two of the aircraft later left Shannon for the Spanish islands of Menorca and Gran Canaria while the third was sent to Gatwick Airport in England.