Virgin Flight to Johannesburg U-Turns Back to London

Virgin Flight to Johannesburg U-Turns Back to London
Photo Credit: James Field/AviationSource
James Field - Editor in Chief 2 Min Read
2 Min Read

It has emerged that a Virgin Atlantic flight to Johannesburg, South Africa u-turned back to London Heathrow last night.

Virgin Flight to Johannesburg U-Turns Back to London…

Virgin Flight to Johannesburg U-Turns Back to London
Data provided by


Virgin Atlantic flight VS449 departed London Heathrow at 2232 local time last night, with the flight being operated by G-VZIG.

As per data from, G-VZIG is a 8.7 year old Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner that was delivered to the airline back in March 2015.

The airline has 17 units of the aircraft type in service, of which none are parked.

VS449 departed from the 09s at Heathrow, and a few minutes after that, it made a tiny orbit, then headed South over Portsmouth.

From there, the aircraft made a much wider hold before turning back and returning to London Heathrow.

The arrival time back into Heathrow was at 2341 UK time, around an hour and nine minutes after it’s initial departure.

Data provided by

Around an hour and four minutes after arrival, G-VZIG departed once again from Heathrow, proceeding to Johannesburg once again, where at the time of writing, VS449 is expected to land back into the South African destination.

At this stage, it is unclear what the reasoning for the u-turn is. However, it is likely that the cause of this was medical-related as G-VZIG departed around an hour later, indicating that there was nothing wrong with the airplane.

VS449 didn’t squawk 7700 at any point during this incident.

AviationSource will approach Virgin Atlantic for a comment on this incident.

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