On Friday, September 3rd, three of Delta Air Lines’ widebody aircraft arrived in Ghana. Touching down at Kotoka International Airport (ACC) in Accra, Ghana, the visits were special to an airport that typically sees only one flight a day to the airport. But, on one day, two Boeing 767-300ERs and an Airbus A330-200 bearing the Delta livery touched down on a runway in Ghana’s capital. Here’s what happened.
Arrival one: DL214
Delta Air Lines flight 214 is a regularly scheduled commercial flight operating between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS) in Lagos, Nigeria. The flight is a red-eye, leaving New York at 20:00 local time and arriving the next morning in Nigeria at 11:55 local time.
On Thursday, September 2nd, the Airbus A330-200, registered as N855NW, took off from JFK at 20:36. As the aircraft neared Lagos, crossing into Nigerian airspace, the plane turned west and headed to Accra, where it landed shortly after 11:00 local time, according to data from Flightradar24.com.
Delta confirmed that the flight diverted to Accra, likely because it is a city Delta serves and has staff on the ground. The reason for this diversion was bad weather in Lagos. After a couple of hours on the ground, the Airbus A330 left Accra at 13:13, arriving in Nigeria, finally, at 14:53. All times are local.
Arrival two: DL156
Delta Air Lines flight 156 is a regularly scheduled commercial flight between New York-JFK and Accra. Like the flight to Nigeria, this one operates as a red-eye. The flight is scheduled to leave New York at 23:45 local time, with the arrival scheduled for the next afternoon at 14:05 local time in Ghana.
On Thursday, September 2nd, the aircraft pushed back from the gate and took off shortly after midnight on Friday, September 3rd. After nine hours and 48 minutes in the air, the aircraft landed in Accra ahead of schedule at 13:51 local time, per data from RadarBox.com. This is the only one of the three flights to operate regularly and on schedule. The flight was flown on a Boeing 767-300ER, registered as N1201P.
Arrival three: DL9907
Delta Air Lines flight 9907 is not a regularly scheduled commercial flight. However, this flight was added to the schedule as a special service between New York-JFK and Accra, Ghana. This flight took off at roughly half past midnight on September 3rd. After roughly nine hours and 40 minutes in the air, the aircraft landed shortly after 14:00 local time in Ghana, as per data from RadarBox.com
The Boeing 767-300ER that flew this flight is registered as N193DN. The circumstances surrounding this flight came from the past couple of days. Operations at JFK were heavily impacted by the severe weather Tropical Depression Ida brought to the Northeastern United States. As a result, DL156 scheduled to fly on September 1st did not operate, and Delta ran this special service to accommodate those customers.
A combination of two separate weather events, plus a regularly scheduled arrival, led to three times the number of Delta planes to visit Accra in one day. All three flights were taken care of, and passengers eventually made it to their intended destination.
Bad weather is something Delta cannot control. However, airlines can control their response to a weather situation. In the case of DL156 that did not fly due to the weather conditions in JFK, instead of trying to route people through a partner, Delta found it better to operate two flights in one day to accommodate those customers.
Passengers did eventually make it to Lagos on DL214. While weather diversions are certainly not fun – especially one so close to landing – the motto “better safe than sorry” rings true in aviation. History is littered with aircraft that faced enormous odds due to bad weather that did not end well for passengers or crew.
Delta first launched service to Accra in December of 2006. Since then, the airline has held out in the market and continues to fly to the African city from its hub in the Big Apple. Recently, competitor United Airlines has also started flights to Accra.
Were you onboard any of these three flights? Let us know in the comments!