DALLAS – When the right set of circumstances surrounds a specific flight, unusual phenomena can occur that leave the aviation community scratching their heads for a few hours.
Today, a North Atlantic Delta Air Lines (DL) flight from Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) to Salt Lake City (SLC) performed a diversion after a technical issue that surprised the pilots two hours after departure.
However, the diversion airport chosen in this case was Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD), which was more than 1.200 miles away from the airplane’s position when the issue occurred.
Flight DL221, which operates daily from CDG to SLC with an Airbus A330-300 aircraft, registration N805NW, takes off from CDG at 10:30 and arrives in SLC at 13:30, all in local times.
Why did this Delta A330 choose the capital of Spain to divert while flying between the British Isles and Iceland, when there are so many airports nearby such as Reykjavik (KEF), Shannon (SNN), or London-Heathrow (LHR)?
Causes of the Incident
Aviation enthusiasts and flight trackers have shared their thoughts about this topic on social media. Some suggested Madrid was selected because it was far enough away so the aircraft could have the time to burn excess fuel and land safely without any overweight.
Other opinions were directed more towards the convenience of landing at MAD, as it possesses one of the most complex and advanced engine maintenance installations in Europe: the Iberia (IB) La Muñoza Maintenance Center.
Shortly before landing, DL confirmed the deviation to Madrid was made due to a failure in the Engine No. 1 Anti-Ice system and that “the reason for the ultimate decision to divert to Madrid was due to icing conditions in Dublin and London and that region, so Madrid was the nearest suitable alternative.”.
As a result, the flight was forced to fly another 3 hours and 10 minutes to Madrid and solve the issue.
Flight DL221 is expected to depart from MAD back to SLC at 16:45 local time once the engine issue has been resolved.
Featured image: N805NW taxiing to the remote stand after safely landing in Madrid. Photo: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways