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London Gatwick Airport reopened after Virgin 747's emergency landing

By Susannah Cullinane, CNN
updated 7:28 AM EST, Tue December 30, 2014
  • NEW: Gatwick Airport reopens after plane is moved following emergency landing
  • Virgin Atlantic Flight VS43 landed safely, but the aircraft remains on the runway
  • The plane developed a fault en route to Las Vegas, the airline said earlier
  • Virgin says the issue was with the plane's landing gear

(CNN) -- Flights to London's Gatwick Airport were diverted and departures delayed for a time Monday after a Virgin Atlantic plane made an emergency landing, the airport said.

Flight VS43, heading to Las Vegas, landed safely at Gatwick after developing a technical fault with its landing gear, Virgin Atlantic said.

The airport's runway was closed temporarily while the the plane was removed.

It reopened at around 7 p.m. local time, and inbound and outbound flights resumed, according to the airport. The airport warned, however, that it might take "some time" before normal services resume.

Gatwick describes itself on its website as "the most efficient single-runway airport in the world."

Gatwick earlier said it had put its emergency services on standby for VS43 -- a Boeing 747 -- to make a "non-standard landing."

"In line with standard procedure, emergency services are on standby at the airport purely as a precaution," it said on Twitter.

Virgin Atlantic's Richard Branson praised the plane's pilots on Twitter: "Well done @virginatlantic pilots & team for safe & skillful landing of #VS43. Thoughts with passengers & crew, thanks for support & patience."

Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger said in a statement that the airline understood that the incident would have significantly disrupted people's holiday plans.

"We will make sure they are well looked after this evening, and will be operating a special flight tomorrow for everyone who would like to continue their journey," he said. Virgin Atlantic would ensure there was a seat for everyone, Kreeger said.

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