Chicago-Bound British Airways Flight Diverted Back to Heathrow

PHOTO: The landing gear of a British Airways flight forced to return to Heathrow Airport several hours after taking for Chicago on Saturday, January 30, 2016.Courtesy Martin Robinson
The landing gear of a British Airways flight forced to return to Heathrow Airport several hours after taking for Chicago on Saturday, January 30, 2016.

A British Airways flight bound for Chicago from London was diverted back to Heathrow two hours into the flight due to mechanical issues today, the airline said.

After releasing excess fuel over water, the 747 aircraft made its way back to Heathrow Airport where the pilot was able to maneuver a smooth landing, despite issues with the landing gear.

"As a precaution, one of our flights returned to Heathrow due to a technical issue," British Airways said. "After a short delay, while our engineers finished their checks, we moved the aircraft from the runway and will begin transferring customers to a replacement aircraft."

"I know there is speculation as to the cause, but until our engineers have carried out a full inspection of the aircraft I can’t offer any advice as to the technical issue," BA consumer public relations manager Michael Johnson said in a statement.

BA wouldn't speculate on suggestions that problems with the landing gear might have been the cause of the technical issue until their engineers report back.

Martin Robinson, a passenger on the plane, tweeted that passengers were told about three hours into the flight that there was a technical issue and that the flight would turn back to Heathrow.

"Around 20 minutes before landing we were told that the landing great would be lowered for safety reasons. Passengers were very calm -- you wouldn’t know there was a problem," he tweeted.

"Upon landing we were greeted by emergency crews on standby and the pilot informed us that only 3 of the 5 landing gears had lowered correctly. Fair play to the pilot, he nailed the landing," he tweeted.

Andrew Victory, another passenger, tweeted that the pilot was "really calm throughout," and "In fact explaining that it was all standard procedure."

"He only explained it was a major issue after we had landed. Most passengers seemed very calm although I know there were children on board which must have been worrying for parents," he tweeted.