Virgin Atlantic plane lands safely at British airport after fault

LONDON (REUTERS) - A Virgin Atlantic plane with landing-gear problems safely made a "non-standard" landing on Monday at London's Gatwick Airport, which for a few hours was forced to delay flights taking off and to divert incoming planes.

Television coverage showed the Virgin Boeing 747 came to a rest after a bumpy but otherwise controlled landing.

The passengers, who were scheduled to fly to Las Vegas, were later seen leaving the aircraft by stairs.

"Virgin Atlantic can confirm that flight VS43 has landed safely back at Gatwick," the company said in a statement.

"Our priority now is to look after our passengers and crew."

Gatwick, Britain's second-largest airport, was closed for around four hours while the aircraft was removed from the runway.

It re-opened at 1903 GMT (3am on Tuesday, Singapore time).

Virgin Atlantic's website showed flight VS43 left Gatwick for Las Vegas at 1128 GMT before turning around shortly after passing the west coast of Britain.

Virgin Atlantic is 51 per cent owned by its founder, British billionaire Richard Branson, and 49 per cent owned by U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines.

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