A suspected open cargo door was reportedly behind a British Airways Boeing 777’s return to London Heathrow earlier today. Passengers onboard BA277 to Hyderabad in India got a scenic tour of southeast England before landing back where they started this morning. Following a delay on the ground, the flight successfully got on its way with a delay of over four hours.
Since the pandemic, we’ve seen a considerable rise in popularity of flights to nowhere, as airlines look to keep people in the skies despite border closures. However, not all flights to nowhere are planned, and today’s British Airways flight to Hyderabad was one of these.
An unexpected tour of southeast England
Today, British Airways flight BA277 was expected to depart London Heathrow at 15:10, bound for Hyderabad, where it was due to land. The aircraft got airborne with around a half-hour delay at 15:36. However, after departure, the flight deck decided to abandon the flight and return to Heathrow.
According to The Aviation Herald, the crew climbed out of Heathrow’s Runway 27R when they decided to stop their climb at 6,000 feet. The publication states that the pilots advised ATC that aircraft systems indicated the rear cargo door was open.
As a precaution, ground operations personnel were tasked with checking that nothing had escaped from the plane onto the runway. The flight crew reportedly didn’t think that the indication would have caused an issue, but it never hurts to check. Two aircraft had to go around while airport operations employees swept the runway.
The flight initially flew to the southeast corner of the M25, where it entered a holding pattern for four loops. It then ascended to 7,000 feet, where it held near to where the river Thames meets the sea. It then returned to Heathrow, where it touched down one hour and 37 minutes after departure, according to data from RadarBox.com.
12-year-old Boeing 777-200ER
According to recorded data, the aircraft involved was G-YMMR. According to data from PlaneSpotter.net, the aircraft is 12.1 years old, having taken its first flight and being delivered to British Airways in March 2009.
Thankfully, it seems that engineers quickly rectified the issue on the ground. Data from RadarBox.com shows that the same aircraft took off from Heathrow for a second time at 19:36. At the time of writing, the aircraft was flying over Hungary at 35,000 feet. It is expected to touch down in India at 09:41 as things currently stand. This will represent a four-hour, 25-minute delay from its planned arrival time of 05:15.
Commenting on the incident, a British Airways spokesperson told Simple Flying,
“Our pilots decided to return to Heathrow as a precaution due to a minor technical issue, and the aircraft has landed normally.”
What do you make of British Airways’ unscheduled tour of southeast England? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!