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WestJet flight unexpectedly grounded in Greenland

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A group of travellers aboard a WestJet flight destined for Canada were temporarily stranded in Greenland Tuesday after the plane was unexpectedly grounded. WestJet Flight 4 was headed to Toronto from London but was diverted when air traffic control and pilots deemed the plane was unsafe to fly about five hours into the flight, Winnipegger Zach Stein said. (www.cbc.ca) Mais...

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ToddBaldwin3
ToddBaldwin3 8
I'm curious about the statement "...diverted when air traffic control and pilots deemed the plane was unsafe to fly...". Seems kind of odd that ATC was part of the decision that the A/C was unsafe.
linbb
linbb 4
Doubt it as the news media knows very little about AC lucky they didn't call it a piper cub which has been done before.
Take what is printed with a grain of salt.
ToddBaldwin3
ToddBaldwin3 2
Or that rare twin engine piper cub.
wopri
Wolfgang Prigge 8
Let's hope the passengers know they are entitled to 600 Euro compensation per person, as the flight originated in Europe, plus any out of pocket expense.
toolguy105
toolguy105 4
Not wishing to second guess anything here it is possible that what was meant by ATC and the pilots as to the plane being unsafe had more to do on what airport the pilots wanted to land at. Generally the pilots want to land an unsafe plane at the closest airport with a runway long enough to accommodate the plane.
andyc852
Andy Cruickshank 3
Plenty of runway at BGSF but not that close. I think the airport was an old USAF base in the cold war
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 3
thx to Wiki folks, was built by US in 1941 who took occupied Greenland. Quite the story , , , , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland_in_World_War_II
toolguy105
toolguy105 1
I'm not familiar with the standard route of travel West Jet uses to Toronto. Very possible it uses the same flight path those bound for the lower 48 in the US as many pass over or close to Toronto. Would there have been a closer airport from where they declared their emergency?
billkight
William Kight 4
There is no standard route for aircraft crossing the North Atlantic. Most passenger aircraft fly one of several tracks plotted daily change based on winds aloft and weather. Google "North Atlantic Organized Track System"
wopri
Wolfgang Prigge 3
This particular flight was fairly north compared to the days before and after.

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/WJA4/history/20161018/1215Z/EGKK/BGSF
boschpilot
boschpilot 1
Thanks for posting that link...there is a strange little 45deg right turn on the east side of greenland that may have indicated an earlier intention to land which was reversed followed by the final approach. That kind of turn to the north is not normal and would most likely be initiated by the pilots not atc.
wopri
Wolfgang Prigge 1
My pleasure for the posting. Yes, the little hook obviously means something, and the fact that at the point where they decided to go to Greenland instead of Goose Bay gave only a minor advantage time wise for BGSF also offers a point for interpretation.
boschpilot
boschpilot 2
Depending on winds or time of departure the track system may not have been used. Anyway, Greenland is appropriate if the aircraft is in between other alternates such as Iceland or Goose Bay. I can't say that even a large portion of the aircraft passing over toronto are North Atlantic bound...that doesn't sound right to me.
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 2
go to flightradar24 and scroll out and you can see on any given days where north atlantic travel can generally be seen. Typically it is well south of Toronto if heading to Europe or east of Toronto if using the polar route to Asia. You do see the occasional Detroit based flight to Europe over YYZ.
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 6
Yes- the Qantas birds have had a strong negative impact on WestJet's brand in Canada and their decision to expand to overseas routes. There has to be a deeper story here - why have these specific birds been so problematic? What is their history? Why from one original airline? Maintenance issues at Westjet which is a 737 shop (or do they outsource 767 maint?).
andyc852
Andy Cruickshank 2
I was at BGSF recently (second trip in 2 months) and they certainly would have been challenged with ramp space as well as accommodation if it was needed. BGSF is the Air Greenland hub and they fly about 8 Dash 8 aircraft as well as an A330-200. When the Airbus is on the ground there is not much available space, so a 767 plus a couple of 737s would make for a busy time.
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 3
I bet. Article states "Travellers were provided meals at the airport, and WestJet sent two Boeing 737s to Greenland Tuesday night to pick up the passengers and take them to Toronto in the morning." Luckily the airport has a smallish (70 rooms / 142 beds) hotel (Hotel Kangerlussuaq) attached and I am certain with some scrambling was most likely able to accommodate the temporarily stranded pax for food although not certain there was a need for rooms. No big noise in Canada about customer service / disruption aside.
andyc852
Andy Cruickshank 4
Correct on the hotel. There is also a smaller hostel type place close to the airport. Community is only about 550 people. Cafeteria was OK but the restaurant (when open) was pricey but excellent. We got stuck for a couple of days with their first snow of the year.
I looked at the flight route on FA and am a little surprised that they did not continue to Goose Bay. From where they were it would be a toss up on distance I think. (I do not pretend to be an expert by any means), and certainly more resources at the airport and for hotels etc. Also closer to YYZ
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 3
FOr sure on the Goose Bay comment. Must have been a significant technical issue.
eastlet5
eastlet5 2
westjet gone downhill big time in the last two years. Used to fly with them often but after several canceled flights and being bussed I will not use them no more and use another airline now with better service.
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 1
If you are referring to Canadian inter-city travel I have to assume that you have jumped to frumpy Air Canada? YIKES! Or is it US - Canada flights? Wondering what US carrier is better than WestJet. Considering WestJet and SouthWest have similar business models and staff attitude; SouthWest would seem to be a natural alternative for you but, oh my, SouthWest does not fly into Canada.
mpmt06
Mark Thomas 3
Not sure the 'cheaper to acquire' second hand aircraft and reliability/customer confidence equation is working out for Westjet here. Time for some new airplanes!
bjohnson09
Bryce Johnson 1
Tell Allegiant that....
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 4
And Delta! (MD-90's)
conmanflyer
connor oslie 1
Not to mention they are still picking up 757s
andyc852
Andy Cruickshank 1
Did DAL have issues with their B717s from WN?
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 2
not that I am aware of. They seem to love them so much they are grabbing any MD-90s that show up on the market. Guess they are tanks.My mistake, shud have indicated that going used can work.
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 2
Throw in their 717s and 88's and combined (717s + 88's + 90's) and they have ~ 272 birds that follow in the dc-9 tradition. Guess their maint crews are old "mad-dog" pros.
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 2
Seems their strategy is that the 767's are transitionary aircraft during their expansion into wide body / overseas markets which really means , , , if long range travel on widebodies is not financially successful, it will be a less costly exit having to dump used (~25 years old) AC. Looks as though aircraft dependability may complicate the decision. Quite an interesting situation with the airline itself being quite strongly supported by Canadians (aided by anti-Air Canada sentiment) but being pulled down by their long haul / 767 issues. Media is watching them like a hawk as this seems to be becoming somewhat of a trend.
wmyke2k
Michael Woolfolk 1
This whole thing is sketchy. Why was this plane in the air for 5 hours before it was deemed unsafe? Spooky!
andyc852
Andy Cruickshank 1
Looks like the two 737s flew up from YYZ and did a quick turn leaving again during the night, and the 767 followed in the early morning. My guess is that nobody was checked in to the hotel (at least by WestJet). Glad the outcome was a safe one.
The other comments about their 767 reliability records are interesting. I would be thinking that Qantas maintenance would be (and is) top notch.
MikeWhitfield
Mike Whitfield 1
Westjet also use leased B767's on their Cda-Hawaii flights. Haven't heard about any issues with these aircraft?
Zigarten
Grd Newell 1
That was 757's wasn't it?
CPAIR007
JASON AWID -1
Wesrjet has gone downhill big time ....
Highflyer1950
Highflyer1950 4
Those ex-Quantas birds sure have had their issues
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 0
@Mike - being leased (damp?) they may not have had the same issues with the leasing company holding maintenance. Also, they had a 757 leased from North American Airlines (N750NA) for a period (2011 started) and I am pretty sure that is the AC that launched their Hawaii efforts.

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