An Emirates flight from Dubai to London had to be diverted due to high winds, which led the plane to become low on fuel.
An emergency was declared as the A380 aircraft twice attempted to land at Gatwick Airport on Friday, but was unable to do so safely due to treacherous weather.
However, Emirates confirmed to Arabian Business that the Flight EK15 was diverted to Manchester, where it landed safely.
Commenting on the diversion, Saj Ahmed, chief analyst at London-based StrategicAero Research, told Arabian Business: “Diversions can occur for a plethora of reasons and amongst the most frequent of these is down to prevailing weather conditions. After trying twice to land, the inclement weather and strong winds meant that it was safer to divert to another airport where weather and conditions were better.”
The aviation expert added: “Some may ask why EK15 wasn’t diverted to Birmingham instead, where Emirates also operates a double daily A380 flight – but the airport is not as big as Manchester and may not have had a suitable slot or time for EK15 to come in and land – so with Manchester having a far bigger footprint, more slots and dual runways, this was the most sensible approach to take.”
Ahmed noted that newer airplanes like the 787 and 777X have predictive weather systems on board to help mitigate against high winds and counteract severe turbulence.
He said the A380 will have a less advanced system, but ‘nonetheless it’s perfectly adequate’ for routine flights.
The expert said: “In low altitude flights against bad weather, controlling any airplane is difficult and, as a result, fuel burn increases – so it stands to reason that after two missed approaches, it made sense to divert elsewhere.”
An Emirates spokesperson confirmed in a statement that the flight was diverted but said there was no cause for alarm.
“Emirates can confirm that flight EK015 from Dubai to London Gatwick on 8 February 2019 was diverted to Manchester due to high winds. We made alternative arrangements for affected passengers to get to their destination.
“Affected passengers were accommodated overnight in hotels. Passengers traveling to Dubai have been offered rebooking on alternative flights where applicable. The safety of our passengers and crew is of paramount importance.”
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