Screen grab: British Airways’ cunning plan to rescue passengers from Costa Rica


Have you ever ever, when driving, had the unnerving and costly expertise of a international object shattering the windscreen? In that case, you’ll be able to start to think about the consternation of the pilots of British Airways flight 2237 from London Gatwick to San José in Costa Rica final Thursday, 23 December.

After a two-hour departure delay from Gatwick and an 11-hour flight from Sussex to the capital’s Juan Santamaría airport, I don’t know if the passengers had been shattered. However the flight deck windscreen positively was – apparently by a block of ice that fell from an plane 1,000 toes increased.


“Our extremely educated pilots landed considered one of our plane as regular after it skilled a technical challenge en route,” is all BA would say in regards to the incident that precipitated the harm.

Some have speculated that house particles, a meteorite and even frozen human waste was accountable for the breakage. Regardless of the trigger, British Airways had a critical scheduling downside. The 777 was out of fee till the proper components and experience might be assembled.

Central America is an excellent area, however windscreens for wide-bodied jets and the specialist engineers to match them should not precisely considerable. All of which was unlucky for the 200 or so passengers ticketed to fly again to Gatwick that night on BA2236 – in addition to the pilots and cabin crew who had been scheduled to be again on the morning of Christmas Eve forward of household celebrations. Because it turned out, they lastly made landfall in Sussex on the afternoon of Boxing Day.

Following what turned out to be a 50-hour delay, numerous passengers have advised me, at appreciable size, in regards to the shortcomings in communication. British Airways has, to its credit score, accepted full duty. A spokesperson stated: “It’s clear that we fell quick on this event, and for that we apologise unreservedly.” Passengers are being refunded their air fares, on high of the £520 statutory compensation that BA should pay.

What with 100-plus resort rooms in San Jose for 2 nights, and the price of a brand new windscreen for a Boeing 777 operating at a number of hundred occasions that for a Vauxhall Corsa, the harm to British Airways have to be approaching £1m.

The airline, although, deserves credit score for developing with a inventive resolution to a disaster that occurred on the worst attainable time by way of the emotional influence for passengers and crew.

The cunning plan seemed like this: two flights had been scheduled to set off on Christmas Eve morning from Gatwick to Jamaica: one to the capital, Kingston, the opposite to the primary resort airport, Montego Bay.

The latter plane was loaded with a spare windscreen and the engineers to match it. Each planes had been due to come again that night time. However with the flights lower than half full for the 24 December departures to Gatwick, British Airways calculated that the Kingston plane might be routed again by way of Montego Bay, simply 84 miles away close to the opposite finish of Jamaica to decide up passengers for Gatwick.

The Montego Bay aircraft, in the meantime, would proceed a few hours’ flying time southwest of Jamaica to San José. Passengers would board this jet, whereas the engineers repaired the stricken Boeing prepared for flying residence empty.

One thing went incorrect with the flight plan for the Jamaica-Costa Rica leg, and the crew ran out of responsibility hours. They spent most of Christmas Day in a Jamaican resort, earlier than flying on to San José and rescuing the passengers who, by this stage, had been livid in addition to upset. They deserve sympathy – as does the airline. When issues go incorrect in aviation, they often go very incorrect certainly.

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