As Storm Isha wreaks havoc in its path, killing two people in the UK and disrupting all modes of transport, aviation has been particularly hit in Ireland. Wind gusts of 70-75 mph (112-120 km/h) in the south of the UK and up to 90 mph (145 km/h) in the north have been making it impossible for planes to land safely.
The severe winds meant that pilots had to either perform go-arounds, a manoeuvre that means circling the airport and attempting to land again after not being successful on the first try, or opt for diverting the flight to a different airport. According to NATS, the UK air traffic manager, there were more than 100 go-arounds at airports across the country on Sunday, with the total number of diversions yet unknown.
One of the most affected airports however was Dublin, with 36 flight diversions and 34 go-arounds, according to Kevin Cullinane, group head of communications at daa, the operator of Dublin Airport. And, since Dublin is the base of Ryanair, the low-cost carrier suffered the most disruptions due to the storm, cancelling 166 inbound and outbound flights on Sunday.
The diversions saw hundreds of passengers scattered across Europe. Flight FR5911 (FR being the marking for Ryanair flights) departed Lanzarote a little before 2 pm local time on Sunday, approached Dublin around 5:30 pm, but turned around before even attempting landing and headed to Bordeaux, in southwestern France instead.
Flight FR3598, departing Shannon Airport in west Ireland close to midnight and meant to land in Edinburgh a mere hour later, ended up landing in Colone around 2:30 in the morning after unsuccessfully circling over the Scottish capital.
Another flight, from Manchester to Dublin, FR555, was supposed to only spend 30 minutes in the air. It circled over the see off the Irish coast 4-5 times before attempting landing, then redirected to Paris’ Beauvais Airport.
Other diversions however only saw flights redirect to nearby airports, for example, Dublin bound flight FR555 from Manchester circled Dublin, then headed north to Belfast, where it also couldn’t land, tried Glasglow, then finally landed at Liverpool, just 50 km west of where it departed from.