Airspace Restriction Halts Heathrow Arrivals For Half An Hour

An airspace restriction was behind a 30-minute halt to arrivals at London’s Heathrow Airport this morning. As a result, a handful of flights were forced to divert to alternate airports. Things are now, however, returning to normal following the incident.

London Heathrow, Flight Disruption, RAF
Arrivals were briefly halted at London Heathrow Airport this morning. Photo: Heathrow Airport

No planes landed at Heathrow Airport this morning. Following an airspace restriction prompted by the RAF, aircraft were unable to approach the airport from the East. However, departures remained unaffected by the restriction. A handful of flights were unable to land at Heathrow, diverting to other airports. However, most continued to hold, eventually landing once the airspace was clear.

Half hour closure

According to data from, there were no landings for a period of half an hour on Heathrow Airport’s southern runway. The northern runway remained in use with constant departures.

The last flight to land at Heathrow Airport before the pause was operated by British Airways. BA218 had departed from Denver on time at 17:28. The 8-hour and 37-minute flight was operated by G-BNLY, a Boeing 747 wearing British Airways’ retro Landor paint scheme. It was the last aircraft to touch down at Heathrow, at around 09:03.

London Heathrow, Flight Disruption, RAF
Departures were not affected. Photo: Heathrow Airport

Half an hour later, Aer Lingus was the first carrier to touch down at the London airport following the pause in proceedings. This week Aer Lingus revealed its new-look uniform to the world in Dublin.

EI380 flew from Shannon to Heathrow. The flight departed at 07:49, however, had a rather long flight time due to an extended holding pattern over London. Following a 1-hour 43-minute flight, the aircraft touched down at 09:32.

A handful of diversions

As a result of the pause, a handful of flights were diverted to alternate airports. This only amounted to five flights. Four were operated by British Airways, while the fifth was a Virgin Atlantic flight.

According to data the following flights were diverted to alternate airports:

  • BA 947 from Munich to London Heathrow diverted to London Stansted;
  • BA341 from Nice to London Heathrow diverted to London Gatwick;
  • BA771 from Stockholm Arlanda to London Heathrow diverted to London Stansted;
  • VS8 from Los Angeles International to London Heathrow diverted to London Gatwick;
  • BA551 from Rome to London Heathrow diverted to London Gatwick.
London Heathrow, Flight Disruption, RAF
Four British Airways flights were diverted. Photo: Heathrow Airport

Simple Flying reached out to British Airways who told us:

Like other airlines a small number of flights were affected by the temporary air traffic control reduction in the number of aircraft arriving at the airport this morning. Less than a handful of flights were diverted as a result, and continued to Heathrow shortly afterwards. We apologise to customers for the inconvenience, but this is cleary a matter beyond all airlines’ control.

Meanwhile, a Heathrow Spokesperson commented: “Arrivals were paused briefly this morning due to an RAF request for an operational flight within part of Heathrow’s airspace. Arrivals are now returning to normal.”

Were you affected by the disruption this morning? Let us know how it affected you in the comments!