British Airways Boeing 777 Diverts To Shannon With Reports Of Smoke Onboard

On Saturday, a British Airways Boeing 777 en route from London to New York diverted to Shannon. Reports suggest the reason for the diversion was smoke observed in the cabin.

British Airways Boeing 777 Shannon Smoke
A British Airways Boeing 777 diverted to Shannon after smoke was reported on board. Photo: Mark Harkin via Wikimedia

Passengers boarded BA179 on Saturday, expecting to touch down in New York at 21:00 that evening. However, things didn’t go to plan when the aircraft ended up diverting to Shannon, and then returning to London. Thankfully, it seems as though everybody was okay following the incident. Additionally, the aircraft was able to return to London with its original passengers onboard.

The flight

British Airways flight 179 is one of the carrier’s many daily scheduled flights between London and New York. The flight is operated by a Boeing 777 aircraft. On Saturday, the flight was hit with a delay departing London. While it was due to depart the English capital at 18:05, the flight didn’t get underway until 18:47. This equates to around a 40-minute delay.

Things looked okay once the aircraft got airborne. The flight took off heading away from New York but immediately made a U-turn. The aircraft climbed to its cruising height of 34,000ft, which was reached over the middle of Wales.

British Airways, Boeing 777, Shannon Smoke
The aircraft turned towards Shannon just as it was about to cross the Irish coastline. Photo:

Just as the aircraft was due to cross the Irish coastline, it made a turn to the south and routed towards Shannon airport. The aircraft then proceeded to hold at 6,000 feet for around 15 minutes to burn fuel. It touched down in Shannon at 20:10. This was around 1 hour and 20 minutes after departing, and around 35 minutes after turning towards Shannon.

The aircraft involved in the incident, G-STBB, is under 10 years old. According to the BA Source, the aircraft was delivered to British Airways on 31st of August 2010, having taken its first flight on the 9th of August 2010.

What caused the diversion?

According to The Aviation Herald, and backed up by passenger claims on social media, the aircraft diverted to Shannon because smoke was reported in the rear of the cabin. The source of the smoke is believed to be an oven in the aircraft’s galley. Emergency Services were unable to find any trace of fire, heat or smoke. Earlier in August, another British Airways aircraft was evacuated in Valencia after the cabin filled with smoke.

British Airways eventually flew the affected passengers back to London Gatwick onboard the original aircraft. A passenger reported that they were taken to Heathrow by bus, and placed in hotels, however, at the time of their tweet, they had not been rebooked onto a New York-bound flight.

When contacted by Simple Flying, a BA spokesperson said: “We’re sorry to the delay in our customer’s travel plans after their aircraft had to divert into Shannon, due to a technical issue.”

Were you onboard BA179? Let us know your experience in the comments.