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Virgin having Troubles

A Virgin Atlantic passenger plane has landed safely at London's Gatwick Airport after discovering a problem with part of its main landing gear.

Virgin flight VS43 with 447 passengers and 15 crew was travelling from Gatwick to Las Vegas when it had to return.

The Boeing 747 circled over southern England for several hours dumping fuel before making a bumpy but safe landing just before 16:00 GMT.

Gatwick's runway reopened at 19:03 GMT after being closed by the emergency.

Arriving flights were diverted to other London airports, while departing aircraft were severely delayed while the Virgin jet was being assessed on the runway.

In a statement, Gatwick Airport said: "The airport is now facilitating inbound and outbound flights but it will take some time for normal service to resume. 

"We advise passengers to check with their airlines on the status of their flight. Updates will also be posted on the Gatwick website and on Twitter."

They said the airport was working with its airline partners to provide food, drink and welfare facilities to those affected by the delays and cancellations and that volunteers were helping provide advice. 

Circled airport

The 13-year-old aircraft had left Gatwick for the US at 11:30 GMT on Monday. 

After detecting the problem, the aircraft needed to fly holding patterns over Devon and then Sussex to dump fuel in order to be light enough to land. 

Before the successful conclusion to the incident, Virgin announced the plane would be carrying out a "non-standard landing procedure" at Gatwick airport.