British Airways 777 diverts to St Johns in Canada after pilot is incapacitated 

Markus Mainka / Shutterstock

A British Airways Boeing 777-200ER flying from New York-JFK to London-Gatwick (LGW) was forced to divert to St John’s in Newfoundland, Canada after one of the pilots became incapacitated. The flight, with flight number BA 2272, departed New York-JFK at 21:54 on March 14, 2024, for the seven-hour and 50-minute flight back to London, where it was due to land at 08:05 the following morning.  

However, after around three hours of flying eastbound and with the aircraft cruising at 40,000ft and 440 nautical miles northeast of St. John’s, the crew declared an emergency, reporting that one of the flight crew was unable to continue in their duties. Upon further discussion between the crew and air traffic controllers based in Canada, the flight subsequently left its designated oceanic airway and turned back towards St John’s.  

The aircraft eventually landed on runway 29 at St. John’s International Airport (YYT) at around 02:00 on the morning of March 15, 2024 – around 80 minutes after the emergency was declared.  

“At 04:42 UTC, a flight crew member contacted Gander Air Control Center to declare a medical emergency for a flight crew member who was unable to continue with flight duties,” said a Canadian Transportation Safety Board statement. “A clearance was requested to divert to St. John’s International Airport in Newfoundland. Gander issued the clearance and the aircraft landed safely at St. John’s at 05:59 UTC with paramedics standing by.” 


The aircraft involved, one of the carrier’s 43-strong fleet of Boeing 777-200ERs registered G-VIIP remained on the ground in St. John’s for about 36 hours before continuing to Gatwick on March 16, 2024, taking four hours and 18 minutes to return to its base airport. The aircraft has since completed rotations from Gatwick to Tampa (TPA), Bridgetown (BGI), and Orlando (MCO. 

The passengers who were onboard the diverted flight were rescued by another of the airline’s Boeing 777s (G-YMMJ) that happened to be on the ground in New York at the time of the diversion. This aircraft routed directly from New York-JFK to St. John’s as BA9156 before continuing the transatlantic leg of the journey, eventually landing at London-Heathrow (LHR) with the affected passengers at 20:57 on March 15, 2024.  

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