Gatwick Airport Opens Runways as Normality Returns after Emergency Landing

London Gatwick Airport, considered to be London’s second airport after Heathrow, will be operating close to normal on April 17, 2012, following an emergency landing incident involving a Virgin Atlantic aircraft on Monday, April 16, 2012.

On Monday, a Virgin Atlantic aircraft made an emergency landing at the airport, following which the runway had to be closed to operations for several hours, as the aircraft’s passengers were evacuated and taken to safety. The aircraft was flying with its full capacity of 299 passengers and 13 crewmembers on board, and used its emergency chutes to evacuate all passengers to safety on landing.

The airport runways remained closed for several hours following the incident, and flights only resumed by 15:23 GMT for arrivals, and 16:00 GMT for departures. The airport has reported that around 26 flights were diverted and nine flights were cancelled due to the temporary closure of the airport.

In a official statement released later, the airport authorities said, ‘Following the incident earlier today when a Virgin flight bound for Orlando made an emergency landing, our main runway is now fully operational for departing and arriving flights. Passengers should expect some delays for the rest of Monday but disruptions are not expected to continue into Tuesday.

Virgin Atlantic, in a separate release, said, ‘Due to a technical problem onboard the aircraft, the captain decided as a precautionary measure to immediately evacuate the aircraft.

Virgin Atlantic can confirm that all the passengers and crew have now safely disembarked. We can confirm that there have been four minor injuries.’