Arsenal plane bursts into flames on runway as pilot forced to abandon take off
A PLANE carrying the Arsenal women’s team back to London after a Champions League match burst into flames when a bird strike blew up an engine.
Photos of the terrifying drama show flames shooting from an engine on the Boeing 737 on the runway at Germany’s Braunschweig Wolfsburg Airport.
The 7.30pm flight was due to take off just a few hours after the team secured a 2-2 draw against VfL Wolfsburg in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.
Witnesses say the plane – reportedly from a Maltese airline – made a loud bang just before it was about to take off on 23rd April.
Horrified pilots saw the blaze and quickly pulled the plane up and evacuated the passengers.
An airport spokesman told German newspaper BILD a bird strike on the engine had caused the fire. The airport official added that nobody was hurt during the incident.
The team and Arsenal staff were put up in a nearby hotel.
They were then flown to London on a replacement plane the next day, on 24th April.
The airport is jointly owned by the car manufacturer Volkswagen Group which is based in Wolfsburg.
The company uses the airfield as the home base for their own airline fleet operated under the Volkswagen Air Services brand.