A plane belonging to UK airline Virgin Atlantic has landed safely at Gatwick airport after developing a landing gear fault. The Boeing 747, which was bound for Las Vegas, spent several hours circling the southern English coast after developing the fault just after take-off.
The airline said in a statement that flight VS43 was preparing for a “non-standard landing procedure” at Gatwick airport due to a “technical issue with one of the landing gears”.
One passenger told Sky News that the landing was “textbook” while praising the staff on board from being “calm” and “professional”. While passengers remained calm, they were told to adopt the brace position.
Although the flight landed safely, the incident has caused chaos at the airport, with many flights having to be cancelled and diverted while emergency services attend the plane.
The plane departed Gatwick airport at 11.44am, but only made it as far as the Bristol Channel before turning back. It headed back to the south east coast where it circled for around 4 hours before landing.
Before the aircraft landed, the airline issued a statement saying:
“Virgin Atlantic can confirm that flight VS43 on 29th December, travelling to McCarran International Airport Las Vegas, returned to London Gatwick due to a technical issue with one of the landing gears.
“The aircraft is preparing to implement a non-standard landing procedure at Gatwick airport. A further update will be issued as soon as possible.”