The plane was heading to Santa Clara, Cuba, before the pilot declared mayday.
"There was an issue with one of their two engines," said Peter Spurway, a spokesman for the airport. "[It was] sufficiently troublesome enough obviously for the pilot to make an immediate return."
Spurway said mayday is one of the most serious terms a pilot can use.
"We have declarations of emergency that are less time sensitive. In this case, there was an immediate issue with one of the engines shortly after takeoff."
The airport started its emergency operation plans. Fire vehicles were on the scene as the plane landed without incident just before 5 a.m. Thursday.
Spurway said the plane was on a ferry flight — an airline term meaning planes are moved from one base to another with no passengers aboard.
He said the plane has been taken out of service.
"Transport Canada is alerted immediately to the situation by the airport authority. They will take it from here."
There was no sign of fire after the plane's return to Halifax, reported the CBC’s Phonse Jessome.
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