Weather conditions force two flights to divert to Helsinki

Tallinn Airport.
Tallinn Airport. Source: Tallinn Airport

Two planes destined for Tallinn Airport Sunday night were forced to divert to Helsinki due to adverse weather conditions.

The aircraft, one a Finnair passenger flight, the other a cargo plane flying from the U.S. and operated by Spanish carrier Wamos Air were had to abort and fly to the Finnish capital, due to wind shear when attempting to land in Tallinn.

Üllar Salumäe, head of air traffic control, said that: "Wind shear, which is a meteorological phenomenon when the wind direction or speed and speed changes abruptly, took place just as planes were coming in to land, making landing dangerous.

The affected aircraft flew to Helsinki, which has one international airport, at Vantaa, following a decision either by the captain or by the airline.

Estonia's other airports, at Pärnu, Kuressaare and Tartu, could also be used as backup landing points but runway lengths might preclude this, as could a lack of airline representation on the ground, ERR reports.

"Speaking purely theoretically, Pärnu, Tartu or Kuressaare could also be used as a backup airport. However, if we are talking about a major airline - in the case of yesterday it was Finnair and one cargo flight from America, the most most reasonable solution for them was Helsinki," Salumäe went on.

Air traffic controllers also need to know the parameters of the affected aircraft when making their recommendation, Salumäe said.

The NATO air base at Ämari, west of Tallinn, as a military and not a civil aviation installation, would not have been a suitable alternative for Sunday's flights, regardless of its runway size, Salumäe added.

According to ETV's weather forecast Sunday night, wind speeds on the north coast reached 10-15 m/s, with gusts up to 21 m/s.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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