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Two British Airways planes struck by lightning on the same day on approach to London Heathrow

Simon Calder’s Travel

Two British Airways aircraft were struck by lightning on the same day on their approach to London Heathrow.

Both Airbus A320 jets landed safely, though one diverted to Gatwick airport. Aircraft are designed to withstand lightning strikes without endangering passengers and crew.

Flight BA919 from Stuttgart, Germany, was at a height of around 3,500 feet shortly before the intended landing at Heathrow at 1.55pm on Sunday.

The aircraft climbed swiftly, turned south and flew an approach to Gatwick, where it touched down at 2.24pm.

Martyn Cooper wrote on X/Twitter: “My son and grandson were on that flight. Overheated brakes delayed take off in Stuttgart, wind sheer and go around at Heathrow, struck by lightning and diverted to LGW. Flight from hell if you ask me.”

A spokesperson for British Airways said: “The flight diverted due to weather conditions in Central Europe.

“Our teams arranged alternative transport between Gatwick and Heathrow. We’re sorry for the inconvenience to our customers’ travel plans.”

It appears that another British Airways arrival, thought to be from Lisbon, was also struck by lightning on Sunday at lunchtime.

On X, JustAnother_Ben wrote: “Just got struck by lightning on the approach into Heathrow.

“It entered just underneath the flight deck and left the tail – we saw it shoot through the cabin.

“I’d heard of lighting travelling through the cabin before but it was my first time seeing it in real life.”

He later added: “I’d just like to add that the actual flight was unaffected. Customers were kept informed and the flight continued its approach for an uneventful arrival.

“The aircraft is undergoing a routine inspection required after a lightning strike.”

Airbus says: “Each in-service aircraft is struck by lightning at least once per year, on average. Even if the level of energy of lightning strikes is high, their effects on an aircraft are limited.

“All large aircraft must be designed and certified to withstand lightning strikes without sustaining significant damage to their structure or effects on their systems that would adversely affect safety for the remainder of the flight.

“This includes protection of the airframe structure against the direct effects of lightning, and the protection of the electronic circuitry versus lightning current induced effects.”

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