GIBRALTAR – FEBRUARY 25, 2019. British Airways Flight BA492 from London Heathrow to Gibraltar had to divert to Malaga yesterday, due to heavy wind just before landing at Gibraltar Airport. The British Airways A320 landed safely at Malaga Airport in Spain.
The passengers on Flight BA492 experienced some heavy winds like you probably haven’t seen before. The footage from outside the A320 makes you think of a scene from the Hollywood comedy from 1980, called ‘Airplane’. You just can’t believe your eyes, but footage from inside the aircraft makes us realize that this is for real.
Before the A320 (registration G-EUUY) departed London, British Airways gate agents told the passengers that they will probably be landing in Malaga due to the severe winds affecting flights in the British Overseas Territory.
The pilot had other thoughts though. Kaigan Garcia – a passenger on Flight BA492 – who gave an interview to local news channel GBC News in Gibraltar, said: “And then she (the pilot) changed her mind. She was like no, we’re going to land in Gibraltar. As it (the aircraft) started to descend, it was like a gust of wind and it sort of tipped the plane over to the right. From then on she just lost control and the aircraft started to sway from side to side. She regained control to ascend again because obviously, we could not land.”
The dramatic footage perfectly showcases that, especially the way the aircraft rocked back and forth to the left and right in a way you don’t see often.
British Airways later stated that “Due to strong winds in the Gibraltar area, our pilots decided to land in Malaga as a precaution.” The airline also noted that “at no point was there a risk to safety.”
Following the incident, British Airways re-routed the return flight from Gibraltar to Heathrow International Airport. Flight BA493 took off from Malaga, instead of Gibraltar.
Heavy wind conditions are nothing new and are sort of a daily occurrence in the aviation industry. Pilots are well trained to cope with strong winds and gusts during landing. However, the conditions on Flight BA492 were definitely far from being just a strong wind. Whether the pilot misjudged the situation or not, the passengers on the A320 must be very glad that nobody was hurt and that they landed safely.
(Top photo: British Airways Airbus A320-232 (G-EUUY)
By Anna Zvereva from Tallinn, Estonia [CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:British_Airways)