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Delta plane makes emergency landing in England

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Smoke in the cockpit is among the most serious warnings a crew can get
  • The crew smelled smoke and diverted to Manchester Airport
  • Maintenance crews found no problems with the plane, Delta says
  • The passengers are staying in a hotel overnight and leaving for Greece Friday morning

London, England (CNN) -- A Delta Airlines flight made an emergency landing at Manchester Airport, England, Thursday, the airport told CNN.

The crew of Delta 250 chose to divert to Manchester after smelling a smoky odor in the cockpit, the airline said.

The plane landed just before 5 a.m. (midnight ET), Delta spokeswoman Debbie Egerton told CNN.

The flight was bound from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport to Athens, Greece, and landed normally in Manchester, Delta said in a statement.

Maintenance crew inspected the plane and found no problems with it, but the flight was cancelled because crews ended up working as many hours as they are allowed to per shift.

The passengers have been given hotel rooms in England for the night and are due to leave for Greece Friday morning at 8 a.m. on on Delta 9858, the airline said.

Smoke in the cockpit is among the most serious warning signs a crew can encounter and almost always leads to an emergency landing, CNN's "Business Traveler" host Richard Quest said.

A SwissAir flight 111 was brought down by a fire in the ceiling in the front of the aircraft in 1998. Less than 20 minutes elapsed between the crew smelling smoke and the plane crashing, Canadian air accident investigators found.

All 229 people on board that flight were killed.

Delta is the largest United States carrier since it merged with Northwest Airlines. The planned merger of United with Continental will be larger still.

CNN's Antonia Mortensen contributed to this report.