TRAVEL

Airbus Lands Safely At Heathrow With Engine Smoking

05/24/2013 02:00 EDT | Updated 07/24/2013 05:12 EDT
By Reuters

A British Airways plane with 80 people on board made an emergency landing at Heathrow Airport in west London on Friday after the right engine burst into flames shortly after takeoff and the casing ripped away from the left.

In amateur footage obtained by Reuters, the jet can be seen flying above houses with the right-hand side engine appearing to make a smoke trail.

The British carrier, part of IAG, said all 75 passengers and five crew members were safe after having been evacuated from the aircraft down emergency chutes on landing.

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Flight BA 762 from Heathrow to Oslo was forced to turn back due to what BA called a "technical fault." The Airbus A319 was powered by two IAE V2500 engines.

BA has started an investigation into the incident along with the Air Accident Investigation Bureau but said it had yet to determine the nature of the problem.

Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, closed both its runways to deal with the matter. They have now reopened but the incident is likely to lead to the cancellation of hundreds of flights at Heathrow, which operates at close to full capacity.

The incident will likely cause disruption for families getting away over the school half-term holiday, which starts on Monday. Britain also has a public holiday on Monday, adding to the number of travellers using Heathrow.

BA, the largest airline at Heathrow, said it had cancelled all its short-haul flights to and from the airport until 1 p.m. ET on Friday.

The emergency landing could bring renewed calls for Heathrow to be expanded. The coalition government blocked the construction of a third runway in 2010 because of environmental concerns.

A spokesman for the London fire brigade said its crews extinguished the fire quickly.

BA's A319s are powered by two IAE V2500 engines made by the International Aero Engines consortium, part-owned by Pratt & Whitney parent UTC.