September 21, 2005

JetBlue flight faces emergency landing in L.A.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A JetBlue flight with crippled
front landing gear and 145 passengers on board was circling
over the California coast on Wednesday burning fuel before
making a planned emergency landing Los Angeles International
Airport, officials said.

"Shortly after the plane took off, the pilot discovered
that he may have a landing gear problem," said Federal Aviation
Administration spokesman Donn Walker.

Flight 292 took off from Burbank airport in Los Angeles at
3:17 p.m. (6:17 p.m. EDT/2217 GMT) and was bound for New York's
John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The Airbus A320 jet was scheduled to land on the
southernmost of the Los Angeles airport's four landing strips,
a spokeswoman for the airport said.

Television images showed the jet circling with the front
landing gear turned at a 90-degree angle from its normal

The jet flew past the tower at Long Beach airport, south of
Los Angeles, where officials confirmed the problem with the
landing gear.

Although early reports indicated that the jet had dumped
fuel, officials later said that the pilot was circling away
from other flights to burn off fuel before attempting a

Emergency crews, including fire trucks and rescue
helicopters, stood by to await the landing.

JetBlue Airways Corp. could not be immediately reached for

JetBlue, which began flying out of the Burbank airport in
May, equips its planes with DirecTV screens built into the
seats in front of each passenger, leaving open the possibility
that travelers were able to follow their own predicament via
updates airing on news channels.

The fast-growing airline operates 81 Airbus A320 jets and
has projected that it will fly a fleet of 202 of the jets by
2012, according to its Web site.