Liverpool John Lennon Airport: Private plane overshoots runway

UK
Liverpool John Lennon Airport Image copyright Merrick Nind
Image caption Thousands of passengers travelling from Liverpool John Lennon Airport face disruption

Flights have been cancelled after a private plane came off the runway at Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

The airport is expected to be closed until 17:00 GMT and an inquiry has been launched into what happened when the plane landed at about 06:00.

Four people were on board the plane but no-one was hurt, a spokesman for the airport has confirmed.

A source at Liverpool Football Club confirmed the private jet was carrying one of the club’s owners, Mike Gordon.

Mr Gordon, who is the president of Fenway Sports Group, was on a flight from Bedford, Massachusetts to Liverpool to attend a regular meeting at the club.

“He was not injured but would like to pass on his appreciation to the staff at Liverpool John Lennon Airport and the emergency services for their amazing work,” the source said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mike Gordon (right) pictured with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp in June 2019

A spokeswoman for VistaJet added: “We are fully co-operating with the airport and relevant authorities as they investigate further.”

A specialist removal team is on site and will use cranes and airbags to remove the plane from the grass.

The plane could not be removed until officials from the Air Accident Investigation Board deem it safe to do so, the BBC understands.

More than 9,000 passengers due to fly from the airport have had flights cancelled, delayed or transferred to Manchester Airport.

Liverpool Airport operations director Paul Staples said the jet which came off the runway remains too close to the landing strip for it to be safe to open it.

He said it was just over 50m (164ft) to one side of the runway.

“It is within the runway strip and we can’t compromise safety,” Mr Staples said.

Image caption Passengers due to fly from the airport to Malaga and Faro are being transported to Manchester Airport

Passengers due to fly have been advised to contact their airlines for further information.

Eric Henderson, from Preston, was due to travel to Amsterdam for work.

“Our flight was due to leave at 07:30. We noticed at ten to that the flight had been moved to 11:40,” he said.

“There was no explanation until we looked out of the large windows on the concourse and saw all the blue flashing lights.”

Image copyright OTHER
Image caption The private plane came off the runway shortly after landing at about 06:00 BST

Merrick Nind, from Preston, has also had his flight cancelled. He was due to leave at 7:30.

“We are going to have spent most of the day in an airport which is a bit of a bummer, but these things happen.”

Steven and Kerry Grounds, from Warrington, were due to fly out to Amsterdam to celebrate Kerry’s 40th birthday.

“I don’t think we will be going anywhere, so we’re going back home,” she said.

Three crew and one passenger were on board the plane when it came off the runway after landing.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and can assure customers we are doing all we can to resume services as quickly as possible,” an airport spokesman said.

Flights arriving from Salzburg, where Liverpool FC played on Tuesday night, the Isle of Man and Dublin have been diverted to Manchester, while planes from Belfast and Amsterdam were cancelled.

Liverpool FC flew back to the UK shortly after the match finished, the club has confirmed.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Passengers face delays at Liverpool John Lennon Airport

EasyJet has confirmed six flights have been cancelled and four flights have been re-routed to Manchester due to the runway closure.

“Customers on cancelled flights have been given the option of transferring their flight free of charge or receiving a refund,” the spokesperson said.


Who is Mike Gordon?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mike Gordon was uninjured when his plane overshot the runway

Mike Gordon, whose plane left the runway as it landed at Liverpool Airport, is the president of Fenway Sports Group, the owners of Liverpool FC.

He is a director of the club and is one of three board members who own more than a 10% share, alongside principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner.

He is also a director of the Boston Red Sox baseball club.

Mr Gordon lives in Massachusetts with his wife and four children.


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