Nova Scotia

Halifax Stanfield airport attractive landing spot for diverted planes

Halifax Stanfield International Airport says it receives a couple of diverted planes every month, or about 20 in the run of a year.

Geography and high quality hospitals draw in pilots

Air France Flight 55 taxis to the terminal at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Wednesday. The flight was on its way from Washington, D.C., to Paris when it made an emergency landing in Halifax after the airline received anonymous threats. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Halifax Stanfield International Airport is no stranger to hosting planes in trouble.

The airport said it receives a couple of diverted planes every month, or about 20 in the run of a year.

Those planes divert to Nova Scotia for a number of reasons, including mechanical trouble or medical emergencies. 

On Tuesday night, a bomb threat forced Air France flight 55 to divert to the airport with 262 people aboard. Police searched the plane and found no explosives. That flight left Halifax on its way to France around 3:45 a.m. AT Thursday morning. 

"Halifax Stanfield has certain attractions, I think. Number one is geography. We're the last major international airport on the continent for traffic heading to Europe," said Peter Spurway, vice-president of Corporate Communications at the airport. 

He was speaking with CBC's Information Morning Thursday morning. 

"The other element, especially around medical diversions, is that we have very high quality hospitals in Halifax and those are some of the considerations I understand the pilot will go through." 

Spurway said when faced with an emergency situation each pilot must consider what their best option is for getting their passengers safely off the plane. 

"The pilot clearly looks and said, 'Well okay, where am I and where is the nearest spot?'" 

Spurway believes the airport's level of service and its ability to respond to emergency situations is well known and that could attract planes in trouble. 

The Air France flight that left Halifax early Thursday morning has arrived safely in Paris. 


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