If you follow Twitter and believe what you read in the papers, all hell broke out on Sunday as a 'hole' is said to have appeared at Stansted Airport, this seemingly devoured whole aircraft and thousands of passengers reportedly never seen again by loved ones...
Great content (or copy) as editors would say, but the reality isn't quite so grim, no emergency declared, all aircraft safe and passengers left unscathed, but some slightly miffed and lately discovering exciting new but unexpected airports....
However several hundred intending outward bound air passengers, and a few hundred incoming passengers did briefly 'face off' as it were.
Flights were diverted after officials shut down the landing strip between 5.30pm and 6.10pm on Sunday.
There was no emergency called, just a massive pinch point, for a short while, as twice the normal number of mainly Ryanair sunday passengers were trying to process against each other in opposite directions through the Stansted passenger terminal, before extra passageways and doorways opened.
Ryanairs ground handing agents, the Swissport company, didn't at any time declare an emergency, but sensibly did request extra bodies from the airport management staff, donning high viz jackets, to direct the passenger traffic and marshal them into lines around the Ryanair ticketing desk, for rebooking and onward flights.
What is now clear is that the single runway designated 04-22, surface paved, and just over 10,000 feet long and 151 ft wide was not damaged at all.
An adjoining emergency section known as the blast pad however developed a surface disintegration problem, detected during a regular and frequent routine inspection, and that caused the 'sudden' 40 minute closure.
At all times the blastpad, precautionary overrun sections and taxiways need to be fully operational, along with the main runway.
Without the blastpad, the main runway was taken out of use, as a quick temporary repair was completed on the blastpad section, to be completed with a later full permanent repair overnight.
Meanwhile to add to the fun, for sound operational reasons, Ryanair independently took the decision to cancel four flights, and in all 11 flights were affected mainly being diverted to other airports (Not 'hubs' as the media would have you believe).
Passengers in-flight were reportedly told by crew that the disruption was caused by a hole in the runway, and social media did the rest. A journalist/passenger took the information at face value, wrote on Twitter that his Ryanair pilot told passengers flights were being diverted due to a hole in the runway....
The statement continued: "Our runway was temporarily closed between 5.30pm and 6.10pm to allow for minor repairs to be safely carried out and some arriving flights were diverted to other airports during the closure.
"This temporary measure was deemed necessary for safety reasons and we would like to advise that the runway is now open and flight operations are back to normal."
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