Stuck Emirates Airbus A380 paralyzes air traffic at London-Gatwick Airport

Emirates Airbus A380 became stuck on the runway at London Gatwick Airport following a mechanical failure
Tea and Biscuit Photos /

An Emirates Airbus A380 aircraft became stuck on the runway at London-Gatwick Airport (LGW), temporarily paralyzing traffic. 

The incident took place on July 11, 2023, when an Emirates Airbus A380, registered A6-EUN, became stuck on the runway after the aircraft’s nosewheel steering failed upon landing. The double-decker aircraft landed at LGW at 7:51 PM local time (UTC +1). Before landing at one of London’s busiest airports, the aircraft circled for around 30 minutes. However, it did not squawk 7700, the code for a general emergency. 

Crews at the airport were forced to tow the aircraft away from the runway, which is the only runway that is used by the airport. Video footage taken by the A380’s tail camera showed emergency crews attending to the stranded aircraft. 

Several flights were delayed, or pilots were forced to divert to other airports. For example, easyJet flight U28624 from Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) to LGW diverted to London Luton Airport (LTN), with the aircraft circling just south of the airport while the Emirates Airbus A380 was on the runway at its original destination.  

British Airways flight BA2821 diverted to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS). The British Airways aircraft, an Airbus A320 registered as G-GATU, landed at LGW at 11:59 PM local time (UTC +1). 

The Emirates Airbus A380 left LGW several hours after the incident, landing at Dubai International Airport (DXB) on flight EK10 on July 12, 2023, at 9:24 AM local time (UTC +4). It has remained there ever since. 

LGW recently submitted an application to use an already existing runway, known as the Northern Runway, for commercial operations. Currently, the runway is used as a taxiway and is only available when the other runway is out of use. 

No flight used the Northern Runway during the incident, resulting in significant delays for arriving and departing traffic. 

“The Northern Runway plan will help secure the long-term future of the airport and economic prosperity for thousands of families, businesses, and future generations across the region,” said Stewart Wingate, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gatwick Airport on July 6, 2023. 

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