Airports across England and Wales are being battered by record-breaking winds and torrential rain as Storm Eunice hits large parts of the United Kingdom.
While bad weather is not uncommon at this time of year, the intensity of the storm, coupled with its track over the most densely populated parts of the country is causing havoc to air travel.
To put Eunice in perspective, a wind gust of 122mph on the Isle of Wight, situated just off Britain's south coast, is provisionally the highest gust ever recorded in England according to the UK's Met Office. Pilots, and their on-ground colleagues are doing incredible work to ensure safe air operations in the midst of the storm.
According to the latest data from aviation analytics firm Cirium:
- A total of 436 flights have been cancelled across the UK so far today (as of 1300hrs)
- 20% of flight cancellations were to/from Heathrow – making it the hardest hit UK airport for cancellations
- In second place was London City, with 16% cancelled, followed by Manchester with 10% cancelled.
Swathes of long-haul jets due into Heathrow and Gatwick are having to go-around and ultimately divert, alongside some shorter-haul European sorties that have taken a detour. Here are some of the most notable we've clocked so far using data from Flightradar24:
Virgin Atlantic Flight Flight VS166: MBJ – LHR two hours late
A Boeing 787-9 bound for London/HR from Montego Bay in Jamaica arrived 2hrs 12mins late at the city hub.
The Dreamliner, G-VOWS (c/n 37974), performed a go around and was briefly in hold before landing at 1.32pm – a delay of 2hrs 12mins on its original ETA at 11.20am.
At the height of Storm Eunice, Heathrow's arrivals schedule was seriously disrupted by flight delays and cancellations.
TAP Air Portugal Flight TP1354: LIS - LHR: Diverted to ORY
The routine shuttle service between the two capitals involved a third this morning. TAP's Airbus A320neo, CS-TVB departed Lisbon at 0842hrs local time and entered London airspace around 1030hrs. After a loop over Surrey, the narrowbody made two attempts to land at Heathrow before diverting to Paris' secondary airport at 1106hrs. The jet arrived safely at Orly at 1206hrs GMT.
Ryanair Flight FR8682: KUN - BRS: Diverted to BHX
Ryanair’s FR8682 link between Kaunas, Lithuania and Bristol has diverted to Birmingham after strong gusts prevented the seven-year-old Boeing 737-800 from landing at the Somerset hub. Two attempts to land at Lulsgate were made before the jet, SP-RSZ (c/n 44688), entered a hold to the southeast of Bristol. It completed two circuits before opting to head north for more settled weather. It arrived in the Midlands at 12.42 local, almost two hours after it had been scheduled to touch down in breezy Bristol.
British Airways Flight BA296: ORD - LHR: Diverted to ZRH
British Airways flight 296 from Chicago/O’Hare to London/Heathrow performed two go arounds at the hub before eventually diverting to Zurich. The Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner, G-ZBLA (c/n 60637), was initially shown to be redirecting to Geneva, but ultimately landed in Switzerland’s largest city.
Qatar Airways Flight QR003: DOH - LHR
Qatar Airways Flight 3, an Airbus A380 service between Doha/Hamad and London/Heathrow, successfully landed on its third approach to the facility. Battling the near 60mph winds, the superjumbo, A7-API (c/n 235), touched down more than an hour late.
British Airways Flight BA661: LCA - LHR: Diverted to NCL
A British Airways Airbus A320neo, G-TTNR (c/n 10493), operating Flight BA 661 from Larnaca, Cyprus to London/Heathrow performed two go-arounds at the West London hub as well as holding significantly for a period to the southeast of the UK capital. The aircraft diverted to Newcastle and at this point had been airborne for just shy of seven hours. Just prior to this, a fellow British Airways Flight – BA 583 and operated by A320ceo, G-GATH (c/n 1482) – from Venice to Heathrow had also elected for a divert to Newcastle.
This is a developing story - check back soon for further updates.