• TUI flight makes a surprising stop in North Africa to deliver a part needed by another aircraft with technical issues.
  • Passengers were informed of the unexpected stop, adding 400 miles and 4 hours to their journey
  • They were treated to a complimentary drink onboard and will be eligible for EU261 compensation

A TUI flight from Lamezia Terme to London Gatwick made an unusual stop in North Africa. The reason? To drop off a part needed by another aircraft that had suffered a technical problem.

TUI passengers make a surprise stop

The TUI flight (BY4651) departed Lamezia Terme International Airport (SUF) at 14:14 - at a delay of over two hours - en route to London Gatwick (LGW), a journey that typically takes less than three hours. However, it followed a southwesterly trajectory and landed at Enfidha–Hammamet International Airport (ENB) around an hour later.

Passengers were informed the morning of the flight of the unexpected stop, which would add over 400 miles and four hours to their journey. According to a report by the Independent, there were 189 passengers onboard the Boeing 737 MAX. For their troubles, passengers were treated to a complimentary drink on the flight, and will also be able to claim compensation for the approximately four-hour delay.

A spokesperson for TUI commented,

"We can confirm that flight BY4651 made a short stop at Enfidha-Hammamet Airport in order to drop off equipment required at the airport for another aircraft. We’d like to apologize again for any inconvenience caused and thank customers for their patience and understanding. All customers were given a complimentary drink onboard as a gesture of goodwill and all will be entitled to claim EU261 flight delay compensation."

What was the delivery for?

Another TUI aircraft - a Boeing 737-800 - had suffered technical problems in Enfidha and required an unspecified part before it could depart. The plane was due to fly from Enfidha to Manchester Airport (MAN) - data from shows passengers were delayed by over seven hours, eventually flying to Manchester on a replacement aircraft.

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TUI Boeing 737 MAX

The TUI spokesperson added,

"The equipment was for the TOM529 aircraft, which suffered a technical issue prior to its departure, and needed engineering support."

After delivering the part, the 737 MAX (registration: G-TUMS) remained on the ground for another hour for refueling before setting off for London Gatwick, eventually arriving at its destination at 18:13.

A costly delivery

Under EU261 rules, passengers delayed by over three hours are entitled to compensation of €400 ($437) each. If every passenger were to claim compensation, this would amount to a payout of over $82,000 on behalf of TUI.

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A TUI Boeing 737-800 jet
Photo: Vytautas Kielaitis/Shutterstock

On top of this, the airline will have paid for extra fuel and airport costs due to the diversion. At this stage, it isn't clear if the part delivered for the 737 in Enfidha actually paid off, as flight tracking websites show a replacement aircraft operated Flight BY529 to Manchester that evening.

Were you onboard TUI Flight BY4651 on August 5th? Have you ever been involved in a similar scenario with an airline? Let us know your stories in the comments.

Source: The Independent