Emergency Landing Shuts Heathrow Runways

HeathrowIntlLondon’s Heathrow Airport was forced to close both of its runways Friday after a plane suffered a “technical fault” shortly after take-off, causing delays ahead of a busy weekend for travellers.

The fault was reported on a British Airways flight bound for Oslo. Smoke was seen emerging from the plane as it tried to take off, according to reports.

“The aircraft landed safely and emergency slides were deployed and we are currently caring for our customers,” a spokesman for British Airways said.

The carrier, which is owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group PLC, said it will carry out a full investigation into the incident.

“We don’t want to make a premature announcement on the nature of the technical fault,” the spokesman added. “We are looking at the structure of the aircraft and carrying out tests.”

A statement released by Heathrow Airport said: “Due to an incident at Heathrow, both runways are currently closed. All passengers and crew have been safely evacuated from an aircraft, which is on the northern runway.”

The closure of both runways at the world’s busiest airport is likely to cause severe delays for families hoping to get away over the school half-term holiday, which starts on Monday. The U.K. also has a public holiday on Monday, adding to the number of passengers looking for flights.

Heathrow, which handles around 1,300 flights a day, has been criticized in the past for cancelling flights and ruining travellers  holiday plans. In January, hundreds of flights were cancelled due to snow and poor visibility, while in November last year 84 flights were grounded after a day of severe fog.

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