Newark Closes Runways After Air Transat Flight Makes Emergency Landing
An Air Transat Boeing 737-800 en route to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) from Montreal (YUL) diverted to Newark Airport (EWR) Saturday morning after smoke was reported in the cargo hold. The aircraft involved in the incident was stuck on the Newark runway following the diversion, causing the airport to temporarily close its runways, which has led to excessive flight delays.
According to Air Transat, flight TS942 was, "Flying from Montreal to Fort Lauderdale [and] made an emergency landing in Newark (EWR) due to reports of smoke in the cargo hold. No one was injured." The aircraft landed safely in Newark roughly an hour and fifteen minutes after departing Montreal. The airline went on to say that the "189 passengers’ safety is our top priority" and that all passengers "were evacuated promptly upon landing." The airline also confirmed that a new aircraft will be sent to Newark to continue on to Fort Lauderdale.
The aircraft involved in the incident is a 12-year-old Boeing 737-800 with the registration C-GTQG. C-GTQG previously flew for Air India Express and has not been involved in any serious incidents in the aircraft's operational history.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has also released a statement on the incident saying, "Air Transat Flight 942, a Boeing 737, reported a possible fire in the cargo hold and diverted to Newark Liberty International Airport at 8:30 a.m. The aircraft landed on Runway 4 Right and remained on the runway while airport firefighters responded. Passengers evacuated on the runway via emergency slides." The source of the smoke reported in the cargo hold has not yet been confirmed.
As noted by the FAA, the Boeing 737 remained on Runway 4R at Newark Airport leading to numerous diversions and multiple delayed departures. Inbound flights diverted to airports across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic including Washington-Dulles (IAD) and Philadelphia (PHL). An Air Canada flight from Toronto to Newark had taxied to the runway though ultimately was canceled after an hour holding short of the departure runway.
According to a tweet from the Newark airport, "flight activity has resumed" as of 10:18am. However, both departing and arriving flights at Newark are experiencing excessive delays. Passengers with flights in or out of Newark Airport (EWR) should check with their airline to ensure their flight is operating on-time.