The beginning of February 2024 was not the best of starts to a month for Germany’s Lufthansa. The carrier saw not just one but two of its transatlantic flights forced to make diversions due to onboard medical emergencies in a single 24-hour period.
The first diversion involved one of the airline’s fleet of Airbus A380 superjumbos flying from Munich (MUC) to Los Angeles (LAX). On February 1, 2024, Lufthansa flight LH452 operated by A380 D-AINL departed Munich at 12:30 heading for California. However, after around one hour and 30 minutes in the air, while cruising at 28,000ft abeam the Channel Island of Jersey, the aircraft began transmitting 7700 on its transponder and requested assistance due to a serious medical emergency onboard.
Given the aircraft’s size, and that there is only a very limited number of suitable alternate airports that can handle an A380 in that area of Europe, the aircraft was subsequently directed by air traffic controllers to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). The aircraft subsequently landed on runway 27L in Paris at 14:38 – just over two hours after it departed from Munich.
After spending just under an hour on the ground in Paris, the aircraft was airborne once again at 15:24 heading for Los Angeles where it eventually landed at 17:11 local time without further incident.
However, having just dealt with one onboard emergency on one of its transatlantic flights, Lufthansa’s Operations Department was once again put on high alert as the second incident unfolded in the early hours of February 2, 2024. One of the carrier’s Airbus A340-300s registered D-AIGP was flying from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) to Frankfurt (FRA) as LH423.
While cruising at 38,000ft over the northern part of the UK, the crew declared an emergency due to a medical situation onboard and elected to divert to Manchester Airport (MAN), rather than continue to Frankfurt. Fortunately, Manchester Airport was almost directly underneath the aircraft’s intended flight path and the aircraft made an uneventful landing at the airport at 04:30 local time.
After spending just over two hours on the ground in Manchester, the aircraft took off and made its way to Frankfurt where it landed at 09:10 local time, some three hours later than scheduled.
No further details regarding either of the diversion events or the nature of the emergencies have been disclosed by Lufthansa at the time of writing. Although medical emergencies onboard flights are not uncommon, only some are serious enough to warrant a diversion. That said, it is rather unusual for a single carrier to have to carry out two emergency diversions in a single 24-hour period.