An Airbus plane bound for Spain was forced to divert back to Manchester and make an emergency landing after a piece of the wing was seen 'hanging off'.
Monarch Airlines Flight ZB654 to Malaga had to turn around somewhere near Gloucester yesterday morning (Sunday, October 18) after the pilot reportedly discovered a piece of wing had come loose and there was a problem with the pressure in the aircraft.
The plane – the wings for which were made in the Airbus factory at Broughton, – had originally taken off at 8am and was due to land in Spain at around 11.30am.
Yet holidaymakers were still sat on the runway at Manchester Airport at 10am, waiting for another plane to board so they could set off again.
Passenger Teresa Sims told the Chronicle's sister paper, the Manchester Evening News: “We were told there was a technical fault and that we were going to have to turn around and go back to Manchester.
“One of the stewardesses later said there had been a problem with the cabin and the rest of the plane depressurising at a different rate.
“So we were flying lower to try and sort it out. We noticed there was a bit of the wing hanging off as well.”
She added: “It was scary because we didn’t know what was going on.
“The pilot looked shell-shocked when he came out at the end – he said they don’t have to deal with this type of thing all that often.
“But he did well keeping us safe. When you’re up in the air and know something’s wrong, but don’t know what, you start thinking all sorts of things – your mind wanders. It was terrifying.”
More than 6,000 staff are employed at the Airbus factory in Broughton which is one of two sites in the UK.
A statement from Monarch Airlines said: “Monarch flight ZB654 from Manchester to Malaga returned to Manchester shortly after take-off. The aircraft developed a technical fault and in line with standard procedure the Captain requested a priority landing.
“The flight, which was being operated on an Airbus A321 had 152 passengers, 2 infants and 7 crew including the Captain and First Officer on board, landed safely and without incident at Manchester Airport.
“Customers were transferred to another Monarch aircraft and the crew operated the flight from Manchester to Malaga with a minimal delay. Monarch would like to apologise to customers for the delay in their flight however, safety is our first priority.
“Returning customers in Malaga were notified of a one hour and 15 minute delay to their return flight to Manchester and issued with vouchers to use within the airports food and beverage outlets.”
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