On Saturday, August 28th, an Afghan woman gave birth during a Turkish Airlines evacuation flight from Dubai to Birmingham. The birth took place 33,000 feet above Kuwaiti airspace, prompting a diversion to Kuwait’s airport. The flight’s mission was to assist in ferrying evacuees from the region who had fled Afghanistan amid the ongoing crisis in the country.
Birth at 33,000 feet
It was early on the morning of August 28th that Turkish Airlines‘ special flight TK3281 departed Dubai destined for Birmingham. With military transports from multiple countries evacuating foreigners and Afghan refugees out of Kabul airport, civilian carriers like Turkish Airlines have been providing onward journeys to faraway safe-havens.
TK3281, a flight operated by a Boeing 777-300ER registered TC-JJV, departed Dubai at 04:55 local time bound for Birmingham in the UK. However, while cruising at 33,000 feet (10,000 meters), a woman went into labor, giving birth in the air, over Kuwaiti airspace.
— Hürriyet Daily News (@HDNER) August 29, 2021
Turkish Airlines said in a statement that a woman gave birth to a baby girl with assistance from the cabin crew. According to Reuters, the mother was 26-year-old Soman Noori. Anadolu Agency adds that the girl was named Havva, which translates to Eve but is also a variation on the Turkish word for ‘air,’ which is ‘hava’. Reports indicate that both mother and daughter are in good health.
The special evacuation flight was carrying Afghan citizens who had worked with Britain in Afghanistan.
From Dubai to Kuwait to Birmingham
In the screenshot of the flight path embedded above, we can see the 777 diverting to Kuwait- first flying a circle. While we don’t know why this first took place, it may have been an initial attempt to turn around and return to Dubai before receiving clearance from Kuwaiti authorities to land.
Diverting to Kuwait as a precaution, the aircraft touched down at KWI at 05:05 local time. The aircraft and its passengers spent over an hour and a half on the ground before taking off again at 07:48. Below are additional screenshots of the journey from Dubai to Kuwait and onwards to Birmingham.
Flying from Kuwait to Birmingham, the duration was just under six hours, making for a landing at BHX at 11:44 local time.
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The aircraft involved
The aircraft itself, having dropped off its special passengers, returned to its home base at Istanbul airport about three hours after it landed in Birmingham. At the time of this article’s publication, TC-JJV has gone on to fly one service to Karachi (Pakistan) and is currently conducting the return journey of a Los Angeles service.
The six-and-a-half-year-old Boeing 777-300ER was delivered directly to Turkish Airlines in 2015 and is configured with 49 seats in business class and 300 in economy.
Inflight births don’t happen too often for obvious reasons, but from time to time, a passenger goes into labor far earlier than expected. The last story of this nature Simple Flying reported on took place in October of 2020 on IndiGo flight 6E 122 from Delhi to Bangalore.
Have you ever been on a flight with a medical emergency? Let us know by leaving a comment.