A British Airways flight from Washington Dulles to London Heathrow briefly became the most tracked in the world as speculation about the fate of the ex-Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng went into overdrive on Friday morning.
Kwarteng was suspected to be on the Airbus A380 superjumbo after hastily telling journalists that he was leaving a meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC early to fly back to London on Thursday.
The last flight out of Washington to London after Kwarteng made the surprise announcement was British Airways flight BA292 which ended up departing nearly an hour late at gone 11 pm on Thursday night.
Kwarteng was supposed to remain in the U.S. on Friday for a final round of meetings with the IMF, but it appears he was summoned back to London early in order to deal with a major u-turn on a disastrous ‘mini budget’ that had only been unveiled by the new Chancellor a few short weeks ago.
As the double-deck A380 approached UK airspace, the flight became the most tracked on Flight Radar 24 with around 50,000 users tracking the flight at any one time.
After being briefly placed into a holding pattern, the last few minutes of the plane’s approach was broadcast live by news helicopters circling around Heathrow.
Kwarteng was then whisked into central London and to Downing Street from the plane where he was asked by beleaguered Prime Minister Liz Truss to tender his resignation.
While BA292 was briefly the most tracked flight on Flight Radar 24, the number of viewers trying to follow the flight wasn’t scratch on the record-breaking six million people who tried to track the final flight of Queen Elizabeth II as her body was transported from Edinburgh to London on a Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft.
Before that, a U.S. military jet carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a controversial visit to Taiwan in August was the most tracked flight in Flight Radar history.
Flightradar24 is a popular flight-tracking website based in Sweden that uses aircraft ADS-B broadcast signals sent to ground-based receivers, as well as satellite data and several other sources to track thousands of flights live around the world every day.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.