It is reported that the co-pilot suffered from a severe migraine mid-air and a call was made for a pilot on board. Fortunately, an off-duty captain from the North American Airlines was travelling on the plane and offered to help land the aircraft.
The plane landed safely in Dublin airport and the co-pilot was taken to hospital. Passengers were made to wait for six hours for a replacement crew member.
A Lufthansa spokesperson said the man was fully licenced to fly the 747.
“In such circumstances it's absolutely normal procedure for the pilot, the flight captain, to continue to operate the aircraft," she said. “Also, where necessary, the cabin crew are fully trained and can be called upon to read checklists back to the pilot. The procedures are in place for such an eventuality.
“Whenever you have any sort of medical issue on board, whether it's a doctor or appropriately qualified person, that's always appreciated.
“The flight would have been operated as per procedures and safely even if the off-duty pilot had not been there.”
The Irish Aviation Authority and the Air Accident Investigation Unit have been notified of the incident.