TRAVEL plans for thousands of holidaymakers were thrown into chaos after the runway at East Midlands Airport was closed when the landing gear of a plane broke.
All flights in and out of the airport were halted after the incident, which took place at 2.30am yesterday, and passengers had to wait or be rerouted via other airports in Manchester, Birmingham and London.
This meant about 28 departing flights and 3,000 passengers were affected as the Mail went to press and a similar number of incoming flights.
Among those caught up in the chaos were Danielle Hardcastle and Charlotte Birkin, who were heading out to Ibiza to celebrate their 21st birthdays on the party island.
Danielle, of Woodmans Croft, Hatton, said: “We were in tears with upset because we really wanted to get out there.
“We would have been gutted and mortified if it had to be cancelled.
“We have been saving for six months and were absolutely buzzing. I understand things go wrong but there was a lack of answers.”
Charlotte Birkin, of Greaves Lane, Draycott-in-the-Clay, said: “Our patience was running out and we were struggling to stay calm.
“But thankfully we had a transfer to Leeds Bradford but we had to get a taxi there so we are keeping the receipts and sending them to Ryanair.”
The problem plane was flying in from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. No-one was injured. A detailed investigation by the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch is now under way.
Andy Cliffe, airport managing director, said: “It is not an easy situation but I am pleased with the way everyone has responded from our emergency service staff when it happened through to our staff around the concourse.”
Concerned travellers are urged to check before heading to the airport by calling 0800 140 4007.
As the Mail went to press, bosses at the airport predicted that it would reopen by 7.30pm yesterday evening.