Technical problems with a Royal Brunei Airlines Boeing 767-300ER forced the closure of London Heathrow’s northern runway 31 August, causing flight delays of up to two hours and 19 short-haul cancellations.

The aircraft, V8-RBG, took off but was forced to return due to suspected engine trouble. Airport operator BAA closed the runway as a precautionary measure after the aircraft landed at around 10:15.

Royal Brunei says: “We can confirm that one of our airline’s flights, BI98 to Dubai and Brunei, experienced a suspected technical difficulty shortly after take-off today. The aircraft safely landed with all 202 passengers safely disembarked.

“We have been working with BAA and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch. Following precautionary inspections the runway and aircraft, the runway has since been reopened and the incident has been stood down. We are working with our staff and engineers to ensure this does not happen again.”

According to ATI sister publication ACAS, the Pratt & Whitney PW4000-powered 767-300ER is owned by Royal Brunei and was manufactured in 1992.

In a travel agent advisory notice, warning of operational disruption, Heathrow incumbent British Airways says the incident involved a Royal Brunei aircraft which suffered an engine failure on take-off and left debris on runway 27R.

A Royal Brunei spokeswoman confirms that there was an engine problem, but was unable to comment on whether debris was left on the runway.

A BAA spokeswoman says: “We can confirm that one of the runways at Heathrow Airport was temporarily closed for a period of approximately 110 minutes, as a precautionary measure, whilst airport staff carried out a runway inspection, following the safe landing of an aircraft with a suspected technical difficulty.

“This is a standard safety procedure and the airport remained open, with aircraft landing and departing from the other runway.”

The runway has since been re-opened and BAA says operations are gradually returning to normal.

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