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UK Flights Diverted To Refill Due To Johannesburg Airport Fuel Crisis

Virgin Atlantic passengers flying overnight tonight from Johannesburg to London will find their journey extended by 600 miles and three hours.

A shortage of fuel at Johannesburg’s O R Tambo airport – the main hub for South Africa – has led Virgin Atlantic to divert its overnight flight from the city via Durban, which is 300 miles south.

After departure from Johannesburg at 6.45pm, the Airbus A350 will fly away from London to the coastal city’s airport, where it will refuel. The onward journey to London is almost 6,000 miles and involves flying very close to Johannesburg.

Passengers have been told: “We wanted to provide you some important information for your flight from Johannesburg to London Heathrow on 28 April.

“Due current fuel supply issues at OR Tambo International Airport, we’re unable to fuel our aircraft as normal at the airport.

“Therefore, your flight will temporarily operate via Durban, in order to supplement fuel and continue to the UK. All passengers will remain on board during this process. “The Durban stop will add approximately three hours to the journey time and is a necessary measure to enable customers to complete their travel plans.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and are monitoring fuel deliveries closely, maintaining regular contact with local partners.”

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said: “In response to current fuel supply issues at OR Tambo International Airport, until 2 May, some Virgin Atlantic flights VS450 from Johannesburg to London Heathrow may operate via Durban, in order to supplement fuel and continue to the UK.”

Johannesburg airport has suffered sporadic fuel shortages in recent months, but they have been exacerbated by flooding in KwaZulu-Natal, which has interrupted supply chains in South Africa.

Earlier this week United Airlines cancelled flights between New York and Johannesburg citing “airport-wide supply issues”. The 8,000-mile flight is one of the airline’s longest.

British Airways flights between Johannesburg and London appear to be unaffected.

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