A BA Airbus 319 aircraft was forced to turn back to Heathrow airport after an engine caught fire as it was taking off.
The flight had been bound for Lyon, France and had what is known as an engine surge landed safely back at the London Heathrow airport following the event at about 9pm last night, BA said.
An eyewitness reported to the BBC he had seen flames “spitting out” of the engine and that the plane had been making spluttering noises as it was taking off. Tom Puttick said: “I was in the petrol station opposite the airport which is when I heard the bang, so I turned around and the airplane had flames spitting out of the engine with a spluttering noise as it was taking off.
“I then watched it continuer to climb and the engine was still emitting flames intermittently. Lots of blue lights then emerged on the airport while the plane, I guess, turned around to make an emergency landing.”
A BA spokeswoman said: “Our crew cared for our customers on-board and kept them informed. We train our pilots to the very highest standards including how to respond to these type of events, and the engine was immediately shut down.”
“Of course, we gave our customers who were on the flight hotel accommodation last night and they have been rebooked to fly today.
“We have also scheduled a larger aircraft to operate to Lyon to ensure we can get all our customers there as soon as possible. We can understand how frustrating the delay to their plans must be.
“The aircraft is being thoroughly checked over by engineers. The safety of our customers, crew and aircraft is of the utmost importance to British Airways.”
This is another event involving a BA Airbus A319 as last year a flight destined for Oslo was involved in a dramatic return to Heathrow after an engine fire, due to the coverings of the two engines being left unlatched and then falling off as the aircraft took off puncturing a fuel pipe on the right engine.