Runway closed as airBaltic plane makes emergency landing in Rīga

Latvia’s airBaltic plane Bombardier Q400 NextGen flying from Riga to Zurich on Saturday was forced to return to the Riga airport and perform an emergency landing, said airBaltic spokesman Janis Vanags. The airport has now resumed operations but dozens of flights have been delayed, cancelled or diverted as a result.

"According to initial information, a problem with the front chassis was discovered soon after the plane took off, and airBaltic crew made a decision to return to the Riga airport, following the standard procedures and instructions, performing landing in advanced safety regime," said Vanags.

There were 63 passengers on board, including two children and one infant, and four crew members. All passengers have already left the plane and initial reports suggested there were no serious injuries.

Due to safety reasons, the last plane took off at 8.27 a.m. and the airport’s runway was closed until 3.55 p.m.

Before going to the airport, passengers are invited to check the updated information on the airport website, call information line 1817 or contact the respective airline.

"Due to delayed, diverted and cancelled flights, passengers must communicate directly with airlines," said airport spokesman Gvido Dzerve.

According to Flightradar24 data, the plane changed course right after take-off and circled between Jelgava and Iecava near the capital for two hours, apparently in an effort to lose fuel.

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