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British Airways to put fire-hit Boeing plane back into service

When a London-bound British Airways plane caught fire at a Las Vegas airport in September many people may have assumed the jet would never be used again.

But despite passengers being forced to escape on emergency slides as the Boeing 777-200 became engulfed in flames and smoke, BA has confirmed it will be put back into service once " stringent checks have been completed".

Photographs have emerged showing the jet undergoing repairs on the tarmac at McCarran International Airport, which is around two miles from the Las Vegas Strip.

A spokesman for BA said the engine which caught fire - a General Electric GE90-85B - has been removed by the manufacturer and will be replaced.

He went on: "The airframe was inspected by a team of highly experienced engineers from Boeing who concluded that the damage was limited and suitable for repair.

"A team from Boeing is carrying out the repair work, which will be certified to the same high standards as if the aircraft was brand new."

BA insisted that safety is the airline's "first priority" and there is no set timeline for when the plane will resume flying.

The aircraft was preparing to take off for the 10-hour flight to Gatwick when the captain slammed the brakes on after becoming aware of the fire.

Some 157 passengers, 10 crew and three pilots had to evacuate down emergency slides.

Twenty-seven people, including all crew members, were taken to hospital with minor injuries, mostly caused by sliding down the inflatable chutes.

BA would not reveal how many of the passengers were British, although the Las Vegas to Gatwick route is popular with UK leisure travellers.

The captain, Chris Henkey, from Reading, Berkshire, had 42 years of flying experience with BA and was on his penultimate flight before leaving the profession.

He said after the incident on September 8 that he was "unlikely" to make his final flight.

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