Airport in Chaos As RAF Jet Crash-Lands ; Runway Closed As Bird Strike Downs Tornado
By Sam Wood
HOLIDAY and business plans for hundreds of travellers at Newcastle Airport were thrown in chaos last night after an RAF Tornado crash-landed, closing the runway.
The jet, which had taken off from RAF Marham in Norfolk, suffered a bird strike mid-flight and had to make an emergency landing at around 4.55pm.
It overshot the runway and came to rest in grassland near Dinnington Road, with its nose touching the ground.
Scorch marks were visible on the tail of the plane.
It is unknown if the bird strike contributed to the aircraft overshooting the runway. No one was injured but the runway was completely closed for several hours as investigators made the area safe.
The Dinnington to Kingston Park road which runs across the eastern end of the airport was also closed as a precaution but the plane was not carrying explosives and by 6.15pm officials confirmed it posed no hazard and the road was reopened.
With the runway closed, incoming flights had to be diverted to Edinburgh, Durham Tees Valley or Manchester airports for a period of about two hours.
Seven outbound flights and two inbound were cancelled and many suffered delays. Eight flights were diverted.
Airport chiefs said there may be knock-on effects for people travelling today.
Last night Graeme Mason, head of corporate affairs at the airport, said: “We put into action our full emergency plan.
“The aircraft overshot the runway at the eastern end. It embedded itself into the ground close to the runway which obviously posed a danger to other aircraft.
“We got the runway up and running quickly but it may take a while for things to sort themselves out.
“Some people will have been affected by the delays but alternative arrangements are being made for them. Things should be OK by tomorrow but passengers are advised to check with their handling agent or on our website.”
The two crew members on board the Tornado were uninjured.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman yesterday said: “A Tornado GR4 from 13 Squadron RAF Marham made an emergency landing at Newcastle Airport this afternoon.
“Nobody was injured in the incident and the RAF will recover the aircraft as soon as possible.
“We regret the inconvenience caused by the closure of Newcastle Airport’s runway. An inquiry will be held.”
A Northumbria Police spokesman said officers were called to the airport at 5pm. He said two people from the plane had been taken to hospital as a precaution.
He confirmed that the aircraft was not carrying any explosive equipment or material.
THE following flights were affected by the closure of the runway at Newcastle International
Airport: Cancelled, inbound – 19.25 from London Heathrow; 20.45 from Paris; 23.30 from Murcia
Cancelled, outbound; 16.50 to Paris; 17.25 to Dusseldorf; 17.30 to Southampton; 17.50 to London Heathrow; 19.45 to Stansted; 19.55 to Bristol; 20.10 to Heathrow
Diverted to Manchester – 16.50 from Dusseldorf
Diverted to Durham Tees Valley – 17.10 from Aberdeen; 17.25 from Tenerife; 17.35 from Murcia; 17.45 from Southampton
Diverted to Edinburgh – 17.00 from Heathrow; 17.55 from Paris; 17.25 from Antalya.
Dozens of other flights, both inbound and outbound, also suffered heavy delays, some of up to three hours.
Two planes collided yesterday while taxi-ing to an airport runway.
The aircraft, carrying a total of 287 passengers, touched wings as they were being taken to Manchester Airport’s first runway.
The planes were a Futura flight to Tenerife and a Lufthansa flight bound for Frankfurt, Germany.
There were no injuries.
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