• A Tui plane had to make a 650-mile diversion with its passengers to pick up a crew member.
  • It stopped in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in the opposite direction from its destination of Corfu.
  • Earlier this week, Norwich Evening News reported a similar incident on a Norwich-Mallorca flight.

A plane with hundreds of passengers on board made a 650-mile diversion in the opposite direction to its destination to pick up an extra crew member.

The Tui flight from Norwich, England to Corfu, Greece, was forced to stop over in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to pick up a replacement crew member for another flight.

The incident was first reported by Simple Flying.

Flight data shows the plane leaving Norwich for Belfast, before going back on itself past Norwich and on to the Mediterranean island. 

Belfast is the opposite direction to Corfu, with the distance adding up to a detour of about 650 miles. 

The flight eventually landed at 11am local time, amounting to a delay of 2 hours and 17 minutes.

A Tui spokesperson said: "We fully understand customers' frustration due to the delay of flight TOM5528 from Norwich to Corfu on 19th August," a TUI spokesperson told Insider.

"We can confirm the flight had to make a short stop via Belfast to provide a replacement crew member for another Tui flight."

It was the second time in a week that a Tui flight had to make this diversion, with another flight from Norwich to the Spanish island of Mallorca stopping in Belfast to pick up a crew member, the Norwich Evening News reported.

Airlines across the globe are dealing with worker shortages after many were laid off or took voluntary redundancy during the pandemic, with airlines struggling to replace them as demand returns with eased restrictions.

According to Simple Flying, the Boeing 737-800 is leased from Canada's Sunwing Airlines and operated by its crews. However, Tui pilots are not permitted to fly Tui-owned planes, exacerbating problems when staffing issues arise at smaller airports such as Norwich in the east of England.

Earlier this month, a Tui flight was delayed by 40 hours due to technical issues, per the Norwich Evening News. 

Aviation worker shortages have been pinpointed by analysts as the underlying cause of travel chaos this summer. Airlines including Lufthansa are trying to hire 10,000 workers to combat thousands of delays experienced in recent months.

Read the original article on Business Insider