‘We were no more than 300ft from the tarmac’: Planes forced to abort landings at the last minute after Luton Airport incident

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Pilots flying above Luton Airport were forced to pull out of landings at the last minute after the tyre of a business jet burst on the runway.

The incident, which occurred last night at 9.30pm, saw the airport closed to traffic so the jet could be safely removed.

Flights were diverted with little warning, forcing pilots to abort landing approaches.

Passenger Linda Fowler was forced to brace herself as the plane she was travelling on– which was next in line to land after the business jet– had to pull out of its approach.

Ms Fowler, from Heightington, Worcestershire, told the Luton News that the easyJet plane she was on was no more than 300ft from the tarmac.

However, easyJet has countered that the diversion was made ‘miles away from the airport’.

Ms Fowler said: “As we were getting close the plane banked very steeply which was worrying.

“It was a very quick exit out of the landing pattern, you could see houses and lamposts so we were well into the descent.

“Due to the weather it got really turbulent, the plane was bouncing around and there were people being sick.

“A stewardess came by to tell us that the landing had been aborted and that we would go round and try again, we were then kept on hold for 20 mintues while the pilot attempted to get information from the airport.

“He came on and told us that we only had ten minutes of fuel left so he was going to take us to Stansted unless Luton opens up.

“The thought ‘please get me down safely’ does run through your head at that point.”

Ms Fowler’s flight, from Paphos, Cyprus, was eventually diverted to Stansted, but passengers were forced to wait on the plane for another two hours while the situation at Luton Airport was looked into.

Once passengers were deplaned Stansted struggled to cope with the influx of diverted travellers.

Ms Fowler said: “It was chaotic at passport control, there were more than a thousand people.

“There were no clear signs, there were one or two staff members asking if we had come from Paphos– that was it.

“They had about eight coaches ready to take us back to Luton, by the time we got there it was gone 1am.”

An airport spokesperson said: “London Luton Airport can confirm that the tyres of a private aircraft punctured on landing.

“The three passengers and three crew on board were uninjured and the aircraft was towed to a hangar for inspection.

“Five aircraft carrying passengers were diverted to other airports whilst the runway was cleared.

“The airport quickly resumed operations with aircraft arriving and departing as normal.”

An easyJet spokesperson said: “(We) can confirm that flight EZY2134 from Paphos to London Luton Airport on 14 January diverted to Stansted, as a result of the temporary closure of the Luton runway.

“The captain took the decision to divert when the aircraft was a number of miles away from the airport.

“We can confirm that this was a routine diversion and at no point was the safety of the passengers on board compromised.

“The safety and welfare of our passengers and crew is always easyJet’s highest priority.

“Coach transport on to Luton from Stansted was arranged for the passengers. While these circumstances were outside of the airline’s control, easyJet apologises to passengers for the inconvenience.”