Transportation

Flight from South Africa to Atlanta diverted over ‘technical specifications’

Officials confirmed on Sunday that a flight from South Africa to Atlanta had been diverted, but they said the incident is not related to the newly detected omicron variant.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the Delta Air Lines flight arriving from Johannesburg, South Africa was diverted to Boston and landed safely. The agency said that officials are investigating the situation. 

The redirection of the flight had to do with the technical specifications of our A350 aircraft and the payload of this particular flight,” a spokeswoman for Delta said in an email. “This can happen on ultra-long-haul flights when optimal operating conditions can’t be met. Not COVID-related at all.”

The news comes several days after the World Health Organization called the omicron variant first detected in South Africa a “variant of concern.” Omicron cases have been detected in a handful of countries including South Africa, Botswana, the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy. 

Several countries have already put in place travel restrictions amid concerns over the variant, while Israel has shut down its borders to all international travelers for two weeks. 

The U.S. is set to restrict travel from eight southern African nations beginning on Monday.

During an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” President Biden’s chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, defended countries like the U.S. that are imposing travel restrictions. He said they provide countries with time to tackle the new variant as scientists race to learn more about it.

“Travel bans, when you have a highly transmissible virus, never completely would … prevent it from coming into the country. No way that’s going to happen,” Fauci said.

“But what you can do is you can delay it enough to get us better prepared. And that’s the thing that people need to understand. If you’re going to do the travel ban the way we’ve done now and that we’re implementing right now, utilize the time that you’re buying to fill in the gaps,” he added. 

Tags Anthony Fauci Anthony Fauci Atlanta Delta Air Lines FAA Joe Biden omicron South Africa

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
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