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Chaos at Heathrow airport due to RAF jet requiring airspace at short notice

Monday, January 20, 2020

Last week a number of flights to Heathrow airport had to divert to airports in the near area, as an RAF aircraft ordered an ‘unplanned’ closure of the local airspace on Friday. Aeroplanes land every 45 seconds in Heathrow Airport, amassing the traffic of around 1300 aircraft every day.

What happened when Heathrow Airport arrivals could not land?

On Friday morning, an RAF jet of German origin requested the use of the airspace in and around Heathrow. Many other aircraft that were in approach for landing or ready for take-off were either told they could not land or were put on hold. The military aircraft left from the RAF Northolt base, which is a smaller aerodrome close by typically used for military operations and some VIP flights.

Which flights were delayed at Heathrow Airport?

Due to the busy schedule and tight slot availability at Heathrow Airport, four British Airways and one Virgin Atlantic flights were not only delayed but also forced to divert to nearby airports such as Gatwick, Stansted and Luton.

Panic on other flights that were not able to land

Hethrow disruptions due to RAF jet

The standstill at Heathrow meant that no aeroplane took-off or landed at the airport in London. This resulted in some passengers being stranded for hours.

Other passengers went through the experience of having their flight circle the airport, in a bid to make some time for the RAF flight, for a considerable amount of time. They claim they were eventually told that there were “10 minutes of fuel left”. Such circumstance would force the pilots awaiting landing clearance to divert to a different airport.

Further delays caused by an aeroplane with a ‘security incident’

When the airspace was finally set to clear, some planes had to wait further due to a ‘security incident’ onboard an aeroplane the was given priority landing.

Has your flight been delayed or cancelled because of a similar unexpected event? Claim your compensation now!

If your flight was disrupted, and not due to an extraordinary circumstance, then you may very well be entitled to compensation. Head on to our extraordinary circumstances page to learn more about what they actually are and if your flight was affected by one. You can also simply check your flight for free below and find out if you can claim compensation.

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Very often, airlines make the process of claiming as complicated as possible in order to simply avoid compensating their passengers. They also overuse the argument that the disruption was caused by an extraordinary circumstance. Therefore, and more often than not, one sees passengers lose hope and accept the airline’s rejection as the truth.

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