Passengers on an Air Canada flight to St. John’s earlier this week spent nearly seven hours in the air and made “several” attempts to land before returning to Toronto.
The airline told CTV News Toronto on Thursday that Flight AC698 was headed to Atlantic Canada on February 5 when the pilot encountered a “crosswind” near the airport and ultimately made the decision to turn back. Admitted.
“This is based on several factors. First, safety is and always will be our top priority, something our customers fully agree with,” the spokesperson said in an email. He added that severe winter weather in Atlantic Canada has made landings elsewhere in the region difficult.
According to the flight tracking website FlightAware.comFlight AC698 departs Toronto at 9:43 p.m., typically making a journey of just over three hours.
However, flight records show the plane actually flew for six hours and 37 minutes, circling St. John’s International Airport multiple times in an attempt to land before returning to Toronto.
Air Canada said it was the “right decision” to have the pilot return to Toronto and that the airline anticipates changing weather conditions on flights like this one and prepares additional fuel accordingly.
Additionally, Air Canada said returning to Pearson Airport is the best option for customers on board, many of whom are from Toronto, as it can be difficult to find accommodation late at night.
“The primary consideration in this case was to maintain safety throughout,” the airline said.