Passenger jet hit by lightning: Aurigny flight GR605 caught in thunderstorm

Passengers faced delays as the small airline mended an aircraft

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A commercial jet flying from Guernsey to Gatwick which required a repair after being struck by lightning is to re-enter the air, after passengers complained of lengthy delays.

Aurigny flight GR605 en route to the West Sussex airport was cleared by traffic controllers, but became caught in a thunderstorm on Thursday at around 11:15am.

The Emraer 195 aircraft, which is the airline’s flagship jet, landed normally, and no one on-board was injured during the incident, Aurigny Air Services said in a statement.

Engineers then assessed minor damage to the aircraft's tail.

While the plane – which is used for four flights each day – was out of service, another four flights operated by a ATR72 plane continued as normal at full capacity, Aurigny spokesman Euan Mahy told The Independent.

Passengers were also taken to and from Gatwick on an aircraft chartered by the airline.

However, due to its size, 72 verses 122 seats, the ATR72 could not accommodate all the passengers booked to fly on the Embraer, causing delays.

One passenger complained of being held up for nine hours.

Aurigny has said it expects the aircraft to be back in action at 7pm on Friday following a repair which has rendered it safe. A permanent repair will be carried out next week.

“Bringing the E195 back into service will ensure that all our Guernsey and London Gatwick passengers are where they should be this evening,” the airline said in a statement.

However, it added due to the wet weather and the short length of Guernsey’s runway, passengers may need to leave their bags behind.

Mahy said that all passengers destined for Gatwick had left by the end of Thursday, and the “vast majority” of passengers flying from Gatwick had left for the island by midnight.

He added: “Our new E195, like all modern aircraft, is designed to cope with lightning strikes which are not that uncommon. It is fitted with static wicks which disburse any charge safely and this is exactly what happened in this instance.”

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