A Heathrow-bound British Airways flight from Belfast City was forced to land at the Belfast International Airport moments after its take-off.

The plane had to be diverted on Tuesday night as a precautionary measure after the pilot declared an emergency.

The 108 passengers on board witnessed the plane circle the international airport before landing safely.

Belfast International Airport operations director Alan Whiteside was quoted by BBC as saying: "Everything went smoothly, our own police and fire service on site here responded, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, the PSNI, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service all attended as a routine.

"But nobody was required to take any other action – the aircraft landed safely thankfully."

"But nobody was required to take any other action – the aircraft landed safely thankfully."

One of the passengers Justin Hames said that they heard a bang as the wheels were going up. The crew informed them later that there was ‘a small problem with the engine’.

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A British Airways spokeswoman said: "Cabin crew are now looking after our customers and they will be offered hotel accommodation and rebooked onto flights tomorrow."

Earlier this week, a Boeing 737 of British Airways crash landed at Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport after a part of its landing gear broke off.

The flight is owned and operated by South Africa-based franchise Comair.

The 94 passengers onboard were safely evacuated using the emergency staircase.

In September, there were two such incidents where British Airways flights faced emergencies situations. A plane preparing to take off from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas was evacuated after an engine caught fire.

Two days after the Las Vegas incident, a Washington to London service declared a ‘full emergency’ and the pilot asked for a priority landing at Heathrow.

Image: A British Airways plane. Photo: courtesy of British Airways.