A British Airways flight from Heathrow Airport in west London was forced to do a u-turn just 11 minutes after take-off due to a technical issue.
The plane departed at 9.09am on Friday before pilots declared a 7700 General Emergency while flying 17,225ft above ground. Flight BA 2678 had been bound for Dubrovnik, Croatia.
A spokesperson for the airline said the plane landed safely.
“The safety of our customers and crew is always our priority and the flight returned to Heathrow as a precaution due to a minor technical issue,” they said. “The aircraft landed safely.”
Passengers were offered a replacement flight after disembarking the plane, a BA spokesman told The National.
Data from Flight Radar 24, which provides live tracking of air traffic, showed the plane had entered French and Belgian airspace before diverting back to its origin.
The flight from Heathrow to Dubrovnik takes on average 2 hours and 51 minutes. Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, British Airways operated regular direct flight on the route with increased frequency during the summer months.
Since the lifting of some travel restrictions over the past few months, airlines gradually started to return to their pre-pandemic schedule.
Bookings for flights to Croatia surged this summer after it was placed on the green list, meaning travellers did not have to self-isolate upon their return to the UK.
The flight emergency came as access to Heathrow Airport was partially blocked by climate protesters during rush hour on Friday.
Officers from London's Metropolitan Police arrested 13 members of Insulate Britain after they blocked traffic at Junction 3 of the M4 motorway.
The group, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, had targeted the west London airport earlier in the week.
A spokeswoman for Heathrow Airport told The National there had not been any reports of travel disruption to passengers as a result of the demonstration.