On August 10, at around 11.10 p.m., Air Transat flight 661 had to make an emergency landing in Bermuda due to a mechanical issue with the plane. *File photo by Kageaki Smith
On August 10, at around 11.10 p.m., Air Transat flight 661 had to make an emergency landing in Bermuda due to a mechanical issue with the plane. *File photo by Kageaki Smith
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TUESDAY, AUGUST 21: Bermuda’s Department of Airport Operations may have helped create new future visitors for the Island when it recently swung into action to assist passengers of a diverted flight.

On August 10, at around 11.10 p.m., Air Transat flight 661 had to make an emergency landing in Bermuda due to a mechanical issue with the plane. The flight had 265 passengers on board and was en route to Toronto, from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Once the flight was on the ground, a decision was made to disembark the passengers and house them in the L.F. Wade International Airport terminal due to the Island’s hotels being sold out, until repairs to the plane could be made.

To ensure that the passengers were made as comfortable as possible during their unscheduled layover, the airport team opened the Boulevard Café restaurant to provide them with refreshments and also ensured that all passengers’ concerns were alleviated by fielding any queries.

And one appreciative passenger of the troubled flight, Carol Kubica, wrote to express her thanks to members of the airport team for their care and compassion during the emergency layover.

Ms. Kubica wrote, “We just wanted to say we really appreciated how you gathered staff, made people as comfortable as you could, and fed everyone. Having that many people and taking care of most of their needs would have been very hard at such a last minute thing. You kept your cool, and for us, everything was perfect.

Ms. Kubica continued, “I didn't know what Bermuda looked like, and I was absolutely amazed at the view your airport has. So needless to say, when a lot of people were cranky and tired, I was happy I pulled my first all nighter, and I was so happy to watch my first sunrise ever... in Bermuda!

“Thanks again for everything.”

Meanwhile, Airport General Manager, Aaron Adderley said he was very pleased that the airport team rose to the occasion to assist the stranded passengers.

He said, “Mindful of the increasing amount of air traffic that is flying over Bermuda, we anticipated the growing likelihood of an aircraft diverting here and passengers having to remain overnight.

“As part of that initial probability analysis, we also considered the possibility of this occurring when the Island's hotels were sold out, meaning folks would have to be accommodated at the Airport.

“Though we have the essentials in place, the actual scenario materialised before we were able to have all of the amenities available inside the terminal building that we would have liked.

“But despite that, I believe we tried very hard to make a difficult situation in the wee hours of the morning, as comfortable as possible for the passengers and in the end, I hope we were able to do that.”

The following morning, (August 11), Air Transat flight 661 departed the Island and continued on its journey to Toronto.