Plane fire disrupts Gatwick flights

Mon, Apr 16, 2012, 01:00

All flights in and out of Gatwick airport have resumed after being suspended today when a plane made a full emergency landing amid reports of a small fire on board.

Virgin Atlantic said the Airbus A330 bound for Orlando in Florida was forced to return and make the landing as a precautionary measure due to a “technical problem”.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service said it was called at 12.21pm to reports of a “small fire on board an aircraft”, which had made a full emergency landing.

A spokeswoman said six fire appliances were called to the scene.

The plane made a safe landing with emergency services on stand-by, and passengers were disembarked, a Gatwick Airport spokeswoman said.

“A Virgin A330 left Gatwick at 10.48am bound for Orlando but returned to make an emergency landing at 12.30 due to reports of a technical issue," she said. "The aircraft made a safe landing, the emergency services are on the scene and passengers have been safely disembarked from the plane. All flights in and out of Gatwick are currently suspended until further notice.”

She said passengers involved were being looked after in a specially set-up reception area at the airport.

The airline said the Airbus A330-300 aircraft had 13 crew and 299 passengers on board.

The incident caused knock-on delays to other airlines operating in and out of Gatwick and some incoming flights were diverted, with some landing at Stansted in Essex instead.

A Gatwick spokeswoman said take-offs and landings had resumed at about 2pm. “There will be some delays for a time.”