Singapore Airlines flight forced to land at small New York airport due to blizzard

A Singapore Airlines Airbus A380, diverted from John F. Kennedy Airport during a winter storm, on the runway at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, New York on Jan 4, 2018.
A Singapore Airlines Airbus A380, diverted from John F. Kennedy Airport during a winter storm, on the runway at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, New York on Jan 4, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK - A massive winter storm forced a Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight to divert to a small New York airport on Thursday (Jan 4) after heavy winds and whiteout conditions closed runways at its intended destination John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The 325 passengers aboard SIA Flight 26 from Frankfurt, Germany, found themselves on a snowy runway around 1pm local time for more than three hours at humble Stewart International, about 80 miles north of JFK, CNBC reported.

The plane was an Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger jet.

Passengers were leaving the plane after 5 pm local time using outdoor stairs, according to Manoel Gerlach, a passenger aboard the plane.

The sight of the giant plane, whose 262-foot wingspan is more than double that of a Boeing 737, was unusual for the airport, which is dwarfed by JFK. In 2016, the airport handled 137,000 passengers. JFK, in comparison, received 29 million, according to the Department of Transportation.

The flight was one of dozens that were diverted as powerful winds and heavy snow closed runways at some of the busiest airports along the East Coast, including several international long-haul flights.

Plane-tracking site FlightAware said there were at least 96 diversions due to the storm. More than 3,600 flights were canceled, and airlines have canceled hundreds more on Friday, according to CNBC.


PHOTO: FLIGHTAWARE