TUI emergency: Manchester flight forced into sudden U-turn after tail hits runway

TUI flight makes emergency landing at Manchester Airport

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The TUI flight, which was fully booked, departed around 8.30am on March 9. But shortly after take-off, the pilot was forced to head back to Manchester Airport after the tail of the aircraft “contacted the runway surface”.

The “tail strike” incident meant the crew of TOM2384 to Fuerteventura had to get rid of fuel mid-flight, pausing the ascent at 10,000 ft.

The Boeing 737-800 dumped fuel by circling the Lake District, touching back down in Manchester around three-quarters of an hour after it originally departed.

The aircraft landed safely back at the airport.

The passengers on the flight eventually set off again for their destination seven hours later, on a separate aircraft.

Over a day later, reports suggested the first aircraft remained grounded.

A spokesperson for the operator attributed the “precautionary return” to a “technical issue”.

They said: “Flight TOM2384 from Manchester to Fuerteventura conducted a precautionary return landing after experiencing a technical issue.

“The safety of our passengers and crew is our number one priority and everyone was safely disembarked.

“We would like to apologise to those customers affected and thank them for their patience and understanding.”

Tail strikes in aircraft can occur as the plane takes off or lands, hitting an object or surface in the process.

Aviation website The Points Guy calls tail strikes “an ever-present threat to pilots of large aircraft”.

They can damage the aircraft, incurring huge repair bills for airlines and operators.

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There is an additional cost for an aircraft being out of action or grounded at an airport.

Factors influencing whether a plane makes contact with the surface as it takes off or lands include the weight of the aircraft, the speed at which it is travelling, and wind conditions.

Earlier this year, a plane attempting to land at Heathrow Airport clipped the tarmac as it attempted to land, forcing the pilot to have a second go at touching down on the west London runway.

The aircraft was attempting to land in the midst of Storm Corrie.

The passengers and crew of British Airways flight BA1307, from Aberdeen to the capital, were forced to endure a second approach after a failed first landing.

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