A TUI flight heading out from Manchester Airport issued an “emergency” alert this morning just after taking off, reports MEN.
Flight TOM5GM has been circling over the north west for hours as it looks for a way to land back on the airport runway.
The plane sent a 7700 “Squawk” code signalling an emergency at 13,000ft shortly after departing at 10.30am.
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The flight was heading to Cape Verde, an island country in the Atlantic Ocean, and had already been delayed before take-off.
The BOEING 767-300 sent the 7700 Squawk code, which immediately alerts Air Traffic Control to an aircraft in distress.
This could indicate a technical or engineering issue with the aircraft.
The flight set off shortly after 10.30am and circled for more than two hours as it looked to land back at the airport.
Website FlightAware shows a flight path with multiple circling routes east of Manchester as well as West and North of the city.
The plane was originally supposed to touch down at 1.30pm, but instead touched down in Manchester just after 1pm.
The flight was met by ambulances and firetrucks on the tarmac.
A Manchester Airport spokesperson said they were aware of a "flight that has decided to return to Manchester”.
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A spokesperson for TUI said: "We can confirm flight TOM216 to Boa Vista, Cape Verde, has returned to Manchester Airport this afternoon due to a technical issue. The aircraft landed at 13:12 and all passengers and crew were disembarked safely.
"The safety of our customers and crew is always our highest priority and we’d like to reassure customers that the decision to return to Manchester was taken as a precautionary measure.
"Due to landing restrictions at Boa Vista Airport, this flight is unable to depart today and our teams are currently working through a new flight plan.
"We’ll be contacting customers directly to let them know of their new departure time as soon as we can, and offering them overnight accommodation, meals and transport to and from the airport if needed.
"We’d like to apologise to all customers onboard for the inconvenience and thank them for their patience and understanding at this time."
Those customers on the flight are eligible to claim flight delay compensation in line with EU regulation.
The alert comes after another TUI flight had to return back to Manchester for an emergency landing after passengers claimed they smelled “smoke”.
The flight, which was already 15 hours delayed, was flying over mainland Europe when it turned around for Manchester due to a “technical fault”.
This left many onboard “petrified” and the plane was greeted by fire engines after landing.
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