Passengers flying from Italy to the UK took a detour to northern Africa because the airline had to deliver a part for another plane

A TUI 737 MAX 8 plane lands.

Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

A TUI plane was meant to fly from the south of Italy to the United Kingdom.
But an unscheduled diversion meant it took a detour and stopped off in northern Africa.
Passengers had to wait on the runway in Tunisia while the airline delivered a part for another plane.

TUI passengers on board a flight from Italy to the UK found themselves unexpectedly diverted to northern Africa, where they remained on a runway for an hour while the airline delivered a plane part.

The Independent was the first to report on the incident, in which passengers on Flight BY4651 from Lamezia Terme in southern Italy to London Gatwick Airport took an unusual detour.

Instead of heading northwest toward the UK, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 flew in the opposite direction, toward Africa.

A map shows Lamezia Terme, Italy, and both the unscheduled diversion route to Tunisia and the scheduled route to the UK.

Google Maps, Insider

The plane, and its 189 passengers, touched down at an airport in Tunisia shortly after the time it was originally scheduled to land in London, flight-tracking data from FlightRadar24 shows.

In an email to Insider, TUI confirmed that the flight made a short stop at Enfidha-Hammamet Airport in Enfidha, Tunisia, on Saturday to “drop off equipment required at the airport for another aircraft.”

The airline said the equipment was intended for a TOM529 aircraft which had suffered a technical issue and needed “engineering support.”

The London-bound TUI aircraft stayed on the runway for a little over an hour while it refueled and the airline delivered the plane part, according to the Independent. The newspaper noted that it is at an airline’s discretion to make such a diversion if it resolves an operational issue.

Flight-tracking data from FlightAware shows that the flight eventually arrived at London Gatwick Airport at 6.14 p.m. — a delay of more than four hours.

“We’d like to apologize again for any inconvenience caused and thank customers for their patience and understanding,” a TUI spokesperson said by email.

“All customers were given a complimentary drink on board as a gesture of goodwill and all will be entitled to claim EU261 flight delay compensation,” they added.

Under the EU’s flight-delay compensation rule, airlines are mandated to compensate passengers when flight delays or cancellations result in passengers reaching their final destination more than three hours later than originally scheduled.

Last December, TUI passengers were left stranded in the wrong country overnight, after their plane made an unscheduled stop due to staff scheduling issues.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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