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Storm Ciara Brings Havoc to U.K. Airports

A British Airways Boeing 747-400 landing at Heathrow Airport. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Airports around the United Kingdom experienced winds up to 65 knots today as Storm Ciara, the worst storm to hit U.K. land in seven years, swept across the United Kingdom causing major disruptions to airlines flying in from around the world.

Records are set to be broken as the tailwinds across the North Atlantic propelled flights between the United States and the U.K., including a potential new record for the fastest flight time between John F. Kennedy Airport and London Heathrow.

A British Airways Boeing 747-400 operating BA112 between New York and London recorded a time of 4 hours and 56 minutes, the average flight time is just over 6 hours. Virgin 4, operating the same flight with an Airbus A350-1000, touched down moments later recording a time of 4 hours and 57 minutes. BA117 reached a ground speed of more than 820 miles per hour.

Earlier on a Norwegian 787 operating DI7016 to London Gatwick from JFK, which coincidently held the fastest subsonic transatlantic flight prior to today, made two attempts to land at Gatwick before diverting to Copenhagen, Denmark.

The rest of the United Kingdom hasn’t been immune to the gale-force winds as many flights intending to land at Manchester found out. Scandinavian Airlines SK4069 flying in from Oslo made two attempts to land before deciding to fly back Oslo.

Manchester bound Emirates Airline EK17 flying in from Dubai attempted twice to land before the crew of the A380 diverted to Frankfurt, Germany. Frankfurt also welcomed BA196 in from Houston after making two attempts to land at Heathrow before flying to the German city, eventually landing two hours after the first go-around.

LATAM Airlines LA8084 flying from Sao Paulo, Brazil, diverted to Barcelona, Spain, after the strong winds forced the flight crew to abandon two approaches at Heathrow.

The biggest headache will be felt by airline operations as they attempt to bring the flying program back together once the storm has passed through. So far, British Airways has canceled at least 140 flights in and out of Heathrow Airport.

According to data collected by FlightRadar 24, Heathrow canceled 472 flights whilst Gatwick canceled 333. As Storm Ciara sweeps across mainland Europe other international airports have reduced the number of flights operating, such as Amsterdam who have 247 flights canceled.

Almost 5,000 BA passengers that were due to fly to Dallas-Fort Worth, Dubai, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York JFK, Philadelphia, San Diego and Vancouver have seen their flights canceled as Heathrow Airport moved to a consolidated flying program to reduce the risk of delays and diversions. Virgin Atlantic, also based at Heathrow, canceled 17 flights.


  • Jack Dawin

    Jack is a keen aviation enthusiast from the United Kingdom. He has been flying since the age of 13 and today operates in the airline industry

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