A Caribbean Airlines aircraft taxiing on the runway.
BRENT PINHEIRO
[email protected]

A “technical issue” forced a Caribbean Airlines flight to be diverted to Norfolk, Virginia, in the United States of America on Wednesday morning.

BW520 departed Piarco at 11:48 pm and was en route to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport when cracks developed in the jet’s outer windshield.

Guardian Media understands 111 passengers and crew were on board. 

Data from flight-tracking website Flightradar24.com shows that at 3:34 am, the aircraft slowed from 427 knots to 309 knots and descended from 38,000 feet to 27,000 feet in the space of 8 minutes. This is most likely as a result of crew action as standard operating procedure calls for the crew to descend to reduce pressure and divert if necessary. Windshield cracks do happen occasionally and planes are designed to remain safe if that does happen. The aircraft continued its descent and landed safely at 4:36 am in Virginia.

BW520’s flight path showing the diversion to Norfolk, Virginia. (Photo courtesy FlightRadar24.com)

Caribbean Airlines confirmed the incident and said “the aircraft and all 111 passengers and crew arrived safely and were processed by the relevant authorities.”  

Speaking with Guardian Media via telephone, Caribbean Airlines Corporate Communications Head Dionne Ligoure said the jet has since been repaired and will be ready for service today. She confirmed that arrangements had been made for all passengers to get to their final destination, with the last group expected to be on their way by Thursday. She also praised the flight crew for their handling of the situation, noting that Caribbean Airlines crew are ‘impeccably trained’ to handle various diversions.

The flight was operated by one of CAL’s older Boeing 737-800NGs, built in 1999 and registered as 9Y-GEO. Caribbean Airlines is currently in the process of renewing its fleet and phasing out the older aircraft, some of which have been in operation since the days of BWIA. The airline currently has three brand new Boeing 737-8 jets but only one is in commercial operations at this time.