Flight abandoned as passengers see sparks

A planeload of passengers flying to Israel from Manchester’s Ringway airport on Tuesday had a lucky escape after sparks were seen coming from one of the Thomsonfly aircraft’s engines.

The incident happened as the jet was making its way to the runway for take-off.

Passengers spotted the sparks and alerted the crew. The captain decided to return the plane to the departure stand and the airport called the fire brigade, whose engines surrounded the plane while passengers were disembarked.

A spokesperson for Thomsonfly cited “a technical problem”. She said: “We would like to apologise to our passengers travelling to Tel Aviv from Manchester on Tuesday.”

But the apology was also extended to customers returning to Manchester from Tel Aviv. The Manchester passengers “were given refreshment vouchers and another aircraft was deployed as quickly as possible”, she said.

“The flight then departed without incident to Tel Aviv after a six-hour delay. 

“Unfortunately, the return flight from Tel Aviv to Manchester that night was affected by the cabin crew exceeding their legally permitted operating hours for that period.

“The flight was rescheduled to depart on Wednesday, and passengers were given overnight accommodation if they required it. We apologise for any frustration or inconvenience this has caused.”

Just over a month ago a technical difficulty and a computer problem on a Thomsonfly plane returning to Luton from Tel Aviv caused a 48-hour delay for passengers. The low-cost airline launched flights between Britain and Israel in November 2007.

    Last updated: 9:47am, May 27 2008