The passengers applauded as the plane landed safely

A Delta Air Lines flight was forced to make an emergency landing in the US after a pilot became locked out of the cockpit, according to airport officials.

The Md-90 plane was flying from Minneapolis to Las Vegas, when the cockpit door malfunctioned at midday on Thursday, Sky News reported.

The first officer quickly took over the controls, and safely landed flight 1651 and its 168 passengers and crew at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

Airport spokesman Christine Crews told the broadcaster that the incident was taken “very seriously”.

The captain later explained to the passengers what had happened.

Passengers reportedly applauded when the flight landed safely as scheduled at about 12:30pm.

The incident comes after a FlyBe plane had to make an emergency landing at an airport in Belfast in late 2014.

The snap landing came just weeks after a similar incident involving the same airline.

The plane, carrying 69 passengers from Southampton to George Best Belfast airport, landed safely after smoke was detected in the baggage hold.