PTC Web Desk: Passengers aboard an Air Canada flight destined for St John's experienced an unusual ordeal earlier this week when the aircraft circled St John's International Airport for several hours, attempting to land in challenging crosswinds. The airline, in a statement on Thursday, confirmed that Flight AC698 departed Toronto on February 5 and encountered difficulties near the airport due to crosswinds, prompting the pilot to decide to return to Toronto.
The decision to turn back was made with safety as the top priority, taking into account the challenging weather conditions prevalent in Atlantic Canada at the time. Severe winter weather in the region made alternative landing options difficult. The flight, which typically lasts a little over three hours, extended to an unusually long duration of six hours and 37 minutes as the plane made repeated attempts to land.
Air Canada defended the pilot's decision, emphasising that safety considerations guided the choice to return to Toronto. The airline explained that it anticipates and prepares for weather-related challenges on such flights by carrying extra fuel. Additionally, Air Canada pointed out that, given the late-night timing of the incident, returning to Pearson airport was the most practical option for passengers, many of whom were from Toronto. Finding accommodation in St John's during the late hours was deemed difficult.