A Turkish Airlines Airbus A321neo flying between Turkey and the United Kingdom was forced to divert to another airport and declare an emergency as it was running out of fuel.
The aircraft, registered as TC-LSN, was operating flight TK1997 between Istanbul Airport (IST) and London Gatwick Airport (LGW) when it was forced to abandon its landing at LGW and divert to Birmingham International Airport (BHX).
The Turkish Airlines Airbus A321neo aborted its landing attempt at around 4:29 pm local time (UTC +1), declaring that it was instead diverting to BHX, an airport that is 98 nautical miles (181 kilometers) north of LGW. As the narrow-body jet was traveling up north, the crew squawked 7700, a code used to inform Air Traffic Control (ATC) of a general emergency onboard an aircraft, at 4:56 pm local time (UTC +1), according to flightradar24.com records.
The aircraft landed safely at BHX several minutes later. There were no injuries reported to the crew or passengers.
Prior to landing at LGW, the aircraft entered a holding pattern above the south coast of the UK for around five minutes, starting at around 4:08 pm local time (UTC +1) before continuing its approach to the British capital’s airport. It then aborted the landing.
According to Flightradar24.com data as the Turkish Airlines Airbus A321neo was on approach to LGW, another aircraft, an easyJet Airbus A319, had just landed at the same airport. The low-cost carrier’s jet was operating flight EZY9093 between Teesside International Airport (MME), the UK, when it landed at around 4:28 pm Local time (UTC +1), shortly before the Turkish Airlines’ aircraft abandoned its landing attempt.
Meanwhile, a British Airways (BA) Euroflyer Airbus A320, registered as G-GATS, was lining up on the runway to depart LGW on regularly scheduled flight BA2762 to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) at 4:28 pm local time (UTC +1). The BA Euroflyer aircraft departed LGW at 4:30 pm local time (UTC +1).
It was not immediately clear whether there was a separation issue or whether there was traffic at the airport. The Meteorological Aerodrome Report (METAR) data, provided by flightradar24.com, shows that at 4:20 pm (UTC +1), the wind speed was 7 knots, with a visibility of 9,999 meters, or above 10 kilometers, with a temperature of 17 degrees.
“While operating its TK 1997 Istanbul-London (Gatwick) flight with 122 passengers on board, Turkish Airlines Airbus 321 NEO type aircraft with TC-LSN tail code received its landing clearance after a period of time spent in holding due to the heavy air traffic at the airport,” a Turkish Airlines representative stated in an email to AeroTime.
“However due to the taxiway traffic volume, aircraft passed over according [to] the instruction of the tower,” they continued, adding that the aircraft reached its minimum diversion levels, forcing it to divert to BHX. “After refueling there for an hour, [the] aircraft departed from Birmingham and landed in London,” the spokesperson concluded.
AeroTime approached LGW for comment.