The flight crew of a British Airways Boeing 747 have been praised by the UK pilots union for safely landing the aircraft at Heathrow after part of the landing gear malfunctioned.
Flight BA295 to Chicago with 293 passengers and 14 crew returned to London after two hours due to “technical problems” on Friday.
The jumbo jet touched down on two sets of wheels instead of five, according to eyewitness accounts.
A replacement aircraft took off for the US city nine hours after the original departure time.
A Heathrow spokesman said a runway was closed for nearly an hour, which caused disruption to some flights.
He said: “Due to a technical issue with an aircraft that needed resolving on the runway following landing, Heathrow operated with only one runway for a short time.
“We are sorry that this has caused some disruption to flights.”
British Airways said in a statement: 'The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority. As a precaution, one of our flights has returned to Heathrow due to a technical issue.
“Until our engineers have carried out a full inspection it would be wrong to speculate as to the cause of the issue. We are sorry for the inconvenience caused.”
Captain Brendan O'Neal, chairman of the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), paid tribute to the crew of BA295.
O'Neal said: "These pilots put their years of training and experience in to practice to keep their aircraft and passengers safe. They did a very professional job in difficult circumstances.
"Pilots across the UK and across all airlines know that although incidents like this are rare, they could happen to any of us at any time, and we have huge respect for the crews who fly with such skill and professionalism when it is needed.
"On behalf of the British Airline Pilots' Association, I want to acknowledge the crew for keeping the passengers on this flight safe.
"We hope and are confident that the cause of the landing gear failure will be identified quickly and resolved."
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