Airbus has confirmed that one of its A380 test aircraft was forced to return from a test flight to Toulouse after a landing gear door sensor blocked its retraction.

Manufacturer's serial number 004 was en route to Tozeur in south-western Tunisia, 450 km south-west of Tunis, for complementary hot weather testing when, shortly after take-off sensors on the undercarriage bay doors signalled a mismatch, the manufacturer says. The safety system on the A380 prohibits the retraction of landing gear in this situation. The pilots decided against flying the 1220km (760mile) journey with the gear extended and returned to the facility as a precaution, Airbus adds.

Local media had assembled in Tozeur for the arrival of the aircraft (F-WWDD), bringing the non-arrival to the attention of newswires, Airbus says.

"The sensor sensed a mismatch in the position of the main landing gear doors," Airbus says. The incident did not involve Goodrich the landing gear itself. Engineers are inspecting the sensor to establish the cause.

The incident is being dismissed as minor by Airbus and there is no rescheduled date for the extra hot weather trials.