03/03/2012

Curious return of a Swiss flight to London

When a Swiss Airlines flight to London had to turn around and return to Geneva it circled around over Morges. Why not directly in to land, as most aborted flights do?


It was at 8am yesterday morning, 2 March, that the first Swiss flight to London Heathrow took off over Vernier, then turned North. On the departures board it was marked as LX352A (strange: it is normally simply LX352!). After a few minutes flying, it turned around and came back to Geneva, landing at 8:36. After it landed, no other movements seem to have taken place for 10 minutes.

20120302_SWR352_return.jpgNormally, aircraft which are returning because of some problem come straight in, with priority over other traffic. However, this one came back on a strange trajectory, involving a loop over Morges. I tried to think of some possible reasons for this, of which the only one that immediately came to mind was that the aircraft was rather heavy (passengers plus fuel) for a landing, so needed to burn off, or dump, fuel.

Whatever problem there was, it does not seem to have been too serious, as the same aircraft later the same day flew twice to London and back.

Perhaps as trivial as the Air France flight which did an emergency landing in Basel because the cabin crew thought that a strange noise could be a bomb: it turned out just to be a Blackberry that had not been turned off!

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