Passengers on a Canterbury Travel festive day trip to Lapland had to return to Edinburgh airport on Sunday after their aircraft was unable to land in Finland.

Jacqui Banham, managing director, said there were 188 passengers on the aircraft which had been chartered from Titan Airways.

“It was a bizarre set of circumstances and we are still trying to ascertain why this situation evolved,” she said.

The airline substituted the usual aircraft with one of a bigger size, and on the approach to Enontekio airport in northern Finland, the landing conditions were snowy and icy.

Banham said the aircraft was kept in a holding pattern above the airport for some time but then needed to refuel, so diverted to a small airport in Norway.

Meanwhile, Enontekio had been cleared and re-opened and other flights were able to land.

Banham said Canterbury Travel asked the captain to return to Enontekio but he was worried about landing and the fact that the crew might be out of hours if there were more delays.

It meant the passengers were flown back to Edinburgh without having stepped off the plane all day.

“Most clients have been very understanding, but it has been a horrible situation for the children,” said Banham.

“This has never happened to us before. It has been very difficult but we can weather it.”

The staff at Canterbury Travel have been liaising with the affected passengers and travel agents to offer refunds or rebook them on 2019 trips, as there are no more departures available for 2018.

She said it has been a difficult week as they were also caught up in the rainy weather that forced several operators to cancel trips to Lapland over the weekend of December 1-2.

MoreLapland breaks cancelled as rain washes snow away

Contigencies in place as Lapland suffers lack of snow