Air Tahiti Nui 787 Dreamliner Diverts To Manchester En Route To LA

Manchester Airport had a surprise visitor on Tuesday when an Air Tahiti Nui Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner dropped in en route to Los Angeles. Before turning towards the airport, the aircraft had issued a 7700 squawk code – indicating an onboard emergency.

An Air Tahiti Nui Dreamliner diverted to Manchester on Tuesday. Photo: Air Tahiti Nui

Air Tahiti Nui flight changes course over Yorkshire

According to data published on RadarBox.com, the Dreamliner (registered as F-OVAA) departed Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris just before lunchtime on Tuesday bound for Los Angeles. The aircraft was operating TN7, Air Tahiti Nui’s regularly scheduled service from Paris to Papeete via Los Angeles.

The jet began its flight normally, ascending to 36,000 feet, crossing the English Channel and tracking northwest towards Sheffield. Around 45 minutes into the flight, while overflying the city, the aircraft abruptly changed to a westerly tracking, flew over Manchester, crossed the coastline near Formby, and headed out over the Irish Sea.

Out over water, the Dreamliner performed a wide 180-degree turn and headed back towards the English coastline, passing over Prestatyn at an altitude of approximately 10,000 feet. Just south of Northwich, the flight turned northeast and headed into Manchester Airport. The flight touched down safely around 12:45.

There are unconfirmed reports an onboard medical emergency caused the diversion. Simple Flying has approached Manchester Airport to confirm this but has not received a response before our publication deadline.

Air Tahiti Nui Dreamliner Diversion
Source: RadarBox.com

A small airline makes a big impact

Air Tahiti Nui only recently resumed its flagship service linking Papeete and Paris. The airline operates four return services a week after first suspending flights in mid-2020. It’s a long flight, typically taking around eight hours to complete the Papeete – Los Angeles sector and 11 hours to fly the Los Angeles – Paris leg.

Last year, the small airline made a big splash when it operated a Papeete – Paris flight in one hop. That flight covered 9,764 miles (15,715 kilometers) in 15 hours and 45 minutes and was then tagged the world’s longest domestic flight.

F-OVAA did not operate that flight. Instead, the task was left to sibling Dreamliner F-OTOA. Air Tahiti Nui operates four Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. Those four planes represent the airline’s entire overall fleet. The Dreamliners replaced Air Tahiti Nui’s Airbus A340-300 aircraft.

The first of the four Dreamliners landed in Papeete in 2018. A further three arrived in 2019. The new planes were a big deal at Air Tahiti Nui, offering the airline significant operational efficiencies and passengers a superior inflight experience compared to the previous generation A340s.

Air Tahiti Nui Dreamliner Diversion
Air Tahiti Nui has four Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, receiving its first in 2018. Photo: Air Tahiti Nui

Air Tahiti Nui Dreamliners keep busy on the Papeete – Paris run

These days, the four Dreamliners almost exclusively fly the Papeete – Los Angeles – Paris route, with the occasional foray to Auckland. Usually, the airline also flies between Papeete and Tokyo, but those flights remain paused.

Earlier this year, Air Tahiti Nui won a New Zealand Government contract to operate Dreamliner freight services to the country once a week. Auckland is normally a key hub for passengers and freight heading to and from Papeete. While border restrictions mean next to no passengers are flying this route, Air Tahiti Nui’s Dreamliner flights are getting critical and time-sensitive freight through.

At the time of writing, F-OVAA remained on the ground in Manchester.

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