A Virgin Atlantic scheduled flight operating from Johannesburg to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) was forced to divert to Barcelona in the early hours of Wednesday morning after the crew experienced an engine technical problem in flight.
Flight VS450, operated by Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 registered G-VAHH had departed Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) normally.
The aircraft was approximately 10 hours into its flight to London when the crew made a “pan call”, citing a technical issue and requested diversion.
The aircraft was over the Mediterranean to the south of France at the time of the incident, and subsequently made a precautionary landing in nearby Barcelona at 5:13 AM local time.
According to Spanish news source The Olive Press, the airline advised that the diversion was precautionary in nature, and confirmed that safety “wasn’t compromised at any point.”
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner operated by the carrier Virgin Atlantic, registered G-VAHH (pictured at header), is approximately 8 years old.
Passengers stranded in Barcelona were advised that a replacement aircraft had been arranged to complete their flight to London.
After a wait of 18 hours for the replacement aircraft, further frustrations developed when the repatriation flight also suffered technical issues.
After boarding the aircraft at around 1.00 AM Thursday morning local time, passengers were forced to disembark and return to the terminal after waiting onboard for 90 minutes.
Over 300 passengers have now been stranded in Barcelona for over 30 hours as a result of the two successive technical problems.
It is understood that whilst most of the Virgin Atlantic passengers still remain at Barcelona, some have chosen to independently book onwards flights with alternative airlines.
Virgin Atlantic has told UK news source The Independent that “all out of pocket expenses with be compensated.”