Thomas Cook Rescue Flight Diverts To Shannon With System Malfunction

An aircraft working to repatriate passengers stranded by the collapse of Thomas Cook was forced to divert to Shannon yesterday. The Atlas Air Boeing 747 was flying from Manchester to Orlando when the incident happened.

Atlas Air, Shannon, Thomas Cook Rescue
Altas Air is currently part of the effort to repatriate Thomas Cook passengers. Photo: Atlas Air

A huge effort is currently underway to repatriate British tourists stranded abroad by the collapse of Thomas Cook. It has been estimated that some 600,000 Thomas Cook passengers were abroad at the time of the airline’s collapse. 150,000 of these are thought to be Britons. The Civil Aviation Authority is now tasked with bringing those affected passengers home over the next two weeks.

Thomas Cook rescue flight

The afflicted Boeing 747 was slated to repatriate Thomas Cook passengers from Orlando, Florida. It is due to operate the flight 5Y2753, a replacement of MT2753. Both flights were due to depart from Orlando at 18:15, arriving into Manchester at 07:35 the next day.

When MT2753 was cancelled due to Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy, 5Y2753 was laid on to replace it. However, things are less than perfect for the replacement flight on offer. The flight was delayed after the outbound aircraft was diverted to Shannon en route. The CAA states “This flight is currently delayed by 14 hours”.

Atlas Air, Shannon, Thomas Cook Rescue
The aircraft was reportedly no longer RSVM capable. Photo: Atlas Air

The details

As the flight from Manchester to Orlando was not regularly scheduled, no planned time of departure is available according to FlightRadar24.com. However, the flight-tracking website does give an estimated arrival time for Orlando as 20:43.

The aircraft got airborne from Manchester at around 19:35 yesterday evening. The flight initially routed north-west before moving to a south-westerly direction passing Dublin. The aircraft remained on that rough heading before crossing the coast towards the Atlantic Ocean.

A little over an hour into the flight, the aircraft turned 90 degrees to the left before starting to hold above the ocean. After a couple of loops of the holding pattern, the aircraft then proceeded to Shannon where it landed around three hours after its departure from Manchester.

Atlas Air, Shannon, Thomas Cook Rescue
The flight returned to Shannon following a system malfunction. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

After landing, the aircraft spent around 16 hours on the ground before continuing to Orlando as planned according to the Aviation Herald. They report that the reason for the diversion was “a system malfunction that rendered [the aircraft] non-compliant with reduced vertical separation minima (RVSM) criteria”

A complex mission

The CAA is currently embarking on what has been described as the UK’s largest-ever peacetime repatriation effort. The effort is expected to cost a total of £600 million to organise. However, as the Boeing 747 was delayed leaving Orlando by 14 hours, it is possible that a knock-on delay could carry across to the aircraft’s future flights.

Simple Flying has contacted a representative of Altas Air regarding this story.

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