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Virgin Atlantic plane turns back

A Virgin transatlantic flight
A Virgin transatlantic flight

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Virgin Atlantic

LONDON, England (CNN) -- A Virgin Atlantic flight headed from London to New York Saturday returned to Heathrow Airport more than two hours after it took off as a safety precaution because of a burning smell on the plane -- not the prevailing security threats over terror.

"The aircraft is returning to the stand purely as a safety precautions due to the smell of burning on board," an airline press officer said.

The incident on board the Airbus A340-300 carrying 181 passengers came 2 hours 45 minutes into the flight when an alarm went off.

The flight landed safely at Heathrow around 1:45 p.m. (1345 GMT).

The incident came on the same day that British Airways and Air France canceled flights from London and Paris to Washington and Miami amid security concerns. (Full story)

"Safety and welfare of our passengers is Virgin's Atlantic's top priority," added the press officer.

"It's nothing to do with security whatsoever."

Flight 45 was originally headed to John F. Kennedy International Airport. Passengers were being put on later flights.

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