SWISS plane circles for five hours

Archive picture: SWISS planes at Zurich airport Keystone

A Swiss International Airlines aeroplane flying to New York had to circle in the sky for five hours after a technical problem occurred shortly after take-off from Zurich on Friday evening.

This content was published on March 31, 2018 - 11:31

The Airbus A330 flying to Newark airport had to turn back after a “technical abnormality in the left engine”, a SWISSExternal link spokesman told Swiss media on Friday evening. The machine was too heavy to land straightaway because it had full fuel tanks, he explained. As this type of plane could not drain fuel mid-air, the right amount of kerosene had to be used up before landing.

The plane, which left at circa 9pm, then landed at circa 2am, having been given special permission by Zurich airport.External link Normally no flights are allowed to land or take off between 11pm and 6am.

There was not any danger at any time to the 220 passengers and 12 crew onboard, the spokesman said. The passengers were offered a hotel and their journey should continue on Saturday, he added.


Such incidents are extremely rare, added the company. It has 90 planes and it operates more than 400 flights a day. Some 17 million passengers use its services each year.

The previous Friday, March 23, had also seen a change of plan for a flight from Switzerland to the US. An American Airlines flight from Zurich to Philadelphia had to be make a stop in London due to an emergency.

Articles in this story

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Sort by

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Discover our weekly must-reads for free!

Sign up to get our top stories straight into your mailbox.

The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.