British Airways A320 Returns To Heathrow After 20 Minutes

A British Airways Airbus A320 returned to London Heathrow as a precaution this morning shortly after takeoff. The A320 operating flight BA 2596 to Verona landed back in London around 20 minutes after takeoff.

British Airways, Airbus A320, London Heathrow
A British Airways Airbus A320 returned to Heathrow just 20 minutes after takeoff this morning. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

At Simple Flying, we’ve seen many flights to nowhere. Typically this can be transatlantic flights that develop a fault and turn to return to their origin. We’ve also seen an 11 hour KLM Boeing 747 flight to nowhere. This was caused by a Mexican volcano, meaning the aircraft wouldn’t be able to land in Mexico City. Because of a consignment of horses, the flight was unable to divert en route.

More recently, we’ve seen planned flights to nowhere as travel bans remain in place. Now British Airways has operated a 20-minute flight to nowhere.

British Airways Flight 2596

This morning British Airways flight 2596 was due to fly from London to Verona. While the flight used to operate from Gatwick, all British Airways’ short-haul flights are currently flying out of London Heathrow Airport. The flight was scheduled to depart at 06:45, before touching down in the Italian city at 09:50. Following a slight delay, the flight got airborne at 07:04, leaving from runway 09R. G-EUYD, a 12-year-old A320, operated it.

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However, having departed from British Airways’ home airport, the aircraft leveled off at 10,000 feet to the north-west of Croydon three minutes after departure. Two minutes later, the aircraft turned back towards London Heathrow. The aircraft landed back on runway 09L at 07:24, 20 minutes after it took off.

British Airways, Airbus A320, London Heathrow
The first flight turned around after five minutes in the air. Photo:

Having landed back at London Heathrow due to what the airline described as a minor technical issue, the aircraft was greeted by the airport’s emergency services. This is standard in such an event. The same fire service recently bid farewell to British Airways’ last Boeing 747s based at London Heathrow.

The Av Herald reported, “Passengers reported they smelled a burning odour, some of the flight attendants felt unwell.” Twitter’s @ShelbourneFilms was on the flight and recorded the emergency services following the aircraft.

Commenting on the incident, a British Airways spokesperson told Simple Flying,

“The safety of our customers and crew is always our priority and the flight returned to Heathrow as a precaution due to a minor technical issue. We’ve apologised to our customers and have organised a replacement aircraft so that we can get them on their way again as quickly as possible.”

Replacement aircraft

In the end, passengers onboard the aircraft didn’t face too much of a delay as British Airways swiftly moved them onto a replacement aircraft. The replacement aircraft, a 9.4-year-old Airbus A320 registered as G-EUYL, departed from London Heathrow at 09:39, almost three hours after the first flight should’ve departed.

British Airways, Airbus A320, London Heathrow
The passengers eventually arrived in Verona under two and a half hours late. Photo:

However, after a one-hour 38-minute flight, the aircraft arrived at its intended destination of Verona at 12:17. As such, passengers were only two hours and 27 minutes late arriving in Verona.

What do you make of the incident? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!