Storm Isha: A Data Analysis of Flight Diversions and Cancellations

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Storm Isha brought significant disruption to the UK and Ireland, with wind gusts exceeding 100mph on January 21. Most affected was commercial aviation, with over 100 aircraft going around and 83 plane diversions. Ryanair’s flight from Lanzarote to Dublin was diverted to Bordeaux; Jet2’s to Belfast was re-routed to Paris, and Eurowings’ to London diverted back to Hamburg. The longest freighter diversion was by European Air Transport. The most intriguing diversion was a Ryanair flight that diverted to Manchester and then Liverpool, just 40 miles apart, after a 4-hour wait. EasyJet saw 17 diversions, and 11 Ryanair flights were diverted. Dublin and London Heathrow airports had the most cancellations.

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“Storm Isha: A Look at the Data”

When Storm Isha swept through the United Kingdom and Ireland, it caused massive disruptions and chaos. Flight patterns were monitored and recorded by Flightradar24, making it evident that over 100 aircraft had to change course on that fateful January 21. (Fun fact: Flightradar24 is the world’s most popular flight tracking service, giving people real-time information on thousands of aircrafts around the world.)

We have the most intriguing statistics from this event. For instance, 83 aircraft inbound to the UK were diverted to other airports. The top 3 longest diversions included a Ryanair flight from Lanzarote to Dublin which ended up in Bordeaux, at 560 nautical miles— a journey that lasted over 4 hours. Another interesting diversion was a flight from Hamburg to London that ultimately returned to Hamburg, covering a distance of 404 nautical miles. (Fun fact: Nautical miles are based on the circumference of the Earth, where 1 nautical mile is equivalent to 1 minute of latitude.)

Here’s an interesting tidbit: A cargo aircraft’s longest diversion was from East Midlands Airport to Leipzig, along with several other DHL freighters, underscoring Leipzig’s significance in air cargo operations. On a lighter note, there were impressive party antics at Leipzig, welcoming a fleet of diverted freighter aircraft. (Fun fact: Leipzig is one of the most modern and efficient cargo airports in Europe, being particularly well-connected to Russia, Asia, the Middle East, and North America.)

Now for the most captivating diversion story: A Ryanair flight from Copenhagen to Dublin initially diverted to Manchester and then Liverpoool after a 4-hour wait, a journey just 40 miles from Manchester. The unpredictable twists of fate in air travel! (Fun fact: Ryanair is known for its cost-effective, yet no-frills, flights, making it one of Europe’s largest and busiest carriers.)

Several airlines saw an unusual waltz of diverted flights. EasyJet had the highest number of diversions (17 in total), with 35% of these headed for Bristol. Wizzair’s aircraft were bound for London Gatwick and London Luton, but diverts took them all the way to Brussels and Eindhoven. Similarly, 8 BA Cityflyer planes found themselves diverted to London Stansted. And amid all this diversion chaos, cancellations at London City Airport accounted for a staggering 62% of all operations—a tumultuous day for sure. (Fun fact: London City Airport is situated in the London Borough of Newham, and is the second largest airport in London.)

The airline industry never fails to intrigue and surprise us. From diversions to cancellations, it’s a journey that’s always filled with stories, and unpredictable twists. (Fun fact: Storms often result in the cancellation and rescheduling of hundreds of flights. In such instances, passengers are usually entitled to compensation or rebooking, but each airline’s policy may differ.)

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