Having left London Heathrow Airport (LHR) at 10:15 am, British Airways Flight BA65 was en route to Nairobi (NBO), Kenya. However, after being airborne for 1 hour and 40 minutes, the flight landed back in Heathrow, from where it took off for Kenya once again. 

British Airways Boeing 777-200ER (registration number G-RAES) was operating flight BA65 on March 27, 2020. One hour into the flight, as it was flying near Frankfurt in Germany, the aircraft was seen making a U-turn, before heading back to the departure airport in London. 

The pilot reportedly told ATC the flight crew had received a message that Kenyan authorities would not allow BA65 access to the country’s airspace, as reported by Airport Webcams. As of March 23, IATA lists Kenya as a country, which has suspended international flights. Local reports, however, indicate that the international flight ban came into force two days later, on March 25. 

However, the plane did not spend much time back in London. As British Airways’ own flight tracking service indicates, at 13:15 BA65 took off towards Nairobi. The airline’s website classifies the late departure as a delay and does not reference the first leg of the journey (London-London).

Amid the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak and the rising number of countries closing their borders in effort to contain the virus spread, multiple aircraft were seen changing their courses mid-flight in the last weeks. For instance, another British Airways flight, BA81, made a similar U-turn, but without the second attempt to reach the intended destination, on March 23, 2020. The UK flag carrier’s Boeing 747 en route to Accra (Ghana), turned back as it was passing Germany to land at the departure airport London Heathrow.

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British Airways flight BA81 took off from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) as usual on March 23, 2020. As per schedule, it was expected to land in Kotoka International Airport (ACC) in Accra, the capital of Ghana some six hours later. Instead, the flight time was cut short in half and the passengers disembarked the Boeing 747 just where they started ‒ in London.