Holiday firm Thomson has confirmed it “will be looking into the cause” of a technical fault that led to the same aircraft declaring a full emergency twice in just over 24 hours.
Emergency services were called to Cardiff Airport
on Saturday and Sunday when the plane, a Boeing 757, experienced difficulties with its wing flaps.
The landing flaps slow an aircraft down as it takes off and lands – meaning that in both cases the passenger jet had to land at a speed at least 30 knots faster than usual.
The first problem flight was packed with more than 200 holidaymakers returning to Cardiff from Alicante in Spain, while the second was returning from Lanzarote at around 7pm on Sunday.
But Thomson confirmed it was the same plane, which has the registration G-CPEV.
Both times the plane’s pilot had to make an emergency “PAN” call to the airport’s control tower – which is one step down from a mayday call – but landed safely.
South Wales Police and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service were called following the alerts.
Cardiff Airport said the problem plane was grounded and a replacement aircraft brought in to operate the outbound TOM6782 to Palma later that evening.
A spokeswoman for Thomson said it would now carry out its own checks into what happened.
It has also reported the incidents to the Civil Aviation Authority as part of its “standard reporting procedures”.
But the firm’s spokeswoman said the Air Accident Investigation Branch, which is part of the Department for Transport, had confirmed it would not be investigating the two incidents.
Emphasising that the problems were “minor technical faults”, the spokeswoman added: “Thomson Airways can confirm that flight TOM6707 flying from Lanzarote to Cardiff Airport on Sunday experienced a minor technical fault.
“As a precautionary measure the pilot declared a PAN and emergency services met the aircraft on arrival at the airport.
“The flight on Saturday also suffered a technical fault.
“Safety is our number one priority and we would like to reassure customers incidents such as this are extremely rare.”
South Wales Police confirmed they were contacted by Cardiff Airport about yesterday’s emergency at around 7pm.
A spokeswoman said there was no need for extra officers to attend the scene as the plane had landed safely.
She added: “We are always involved if there is a report of any incident like this, just in case we need to close roads or deal with anything more serious.
“We more or less permanently have a police presence at Cardiff Airport, but we didn’t need to respond to this incident as the plane landed successfully.
“I wouldn’t say this type of incident was a regular occurrence.”
One local aircraft enthusiast, who did not want to be named, said Saturday’s Boeing 757 flight from Spain was put “in the stack” to circle above the airport while emergency services were called.
Our source said: “It was a problem with the flaps. It had to land with one flap and it came in fast.
“Fire engines rushed to the scene and chased the aircraft down as it landed.
“It landed very, very fast – one observer told me they could smell the brakes.”