Hero pilot to rejoin British Airways

A hero pilot who saved a British Airways plane from disaster but then quit over rumours about his handling of the incident is rejoining the airline.

Captain Peter Burkill, 45, and his co-pilot John Coward avoided catastrophe by safely crash-landing a 152-passenger BA Boeing 777 at Heathrow airport in January 2008 after the aircraft lost power.

Reports into the incident cleared father-of-three Mr Burkill but he took voluntary redundancy from BA last year.

Earlier this year, Mr Burkill said he felt he had been forced out by a whispering campaign within the company and that BA management allowed false rumours that he had "frozen" at the controls of the 777, leaving Mr Coward to land the aircraft, to fester.

Today, BA said it refuted any suggestions that there had been a campaign against Mr Burkill and said he would be returning in November as a Boeing 777 captain.

A BA spokesman said: "He was not forced out. He was among a number of pilots who took voluntary redundancy but we are now taking him back again. He will be a captain and he will fly Boeing 777s."

Mr Burkill said earlier this year that he had unsuccessfully applied for other pilots' jobs and he was having to sell his home in Worcester.

He said: "I have lost everything and none of it is my fault. I am a broken man. I feel hung out to dry."

It was Mr Burkill's action in adjusting the plane's flaps that averted disaster in the January 2008 incident.

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