French ski trip delayed after aircraft deemed 'too big'

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aircraft in flight
Image caption,
The flight had been due to land at Inverness Airport

More than 200 school children were left temporarily stranded after an aircraft due to fly them to France for a ski trip was reportedly too big to land.

The youngsters, scheduled to fly from Inverness Airport to Grenoble in France on board the Thomson charter flight, had been due to leave at 0650 GMT.

However, the children ended up having to travel to Aberdeen Airport for a flight nine hours later.

Holiday firm SkiBound said the flight had faced "operational delays".

A parent in Angus told the BBC News Scotland website that a knock on effect of the Inverness situation had been a delay in the return of Forfar Academy pupils and staff from Grenoble.

He said the group left France at 1800 GMT instead of 1000 GMT on Sunday and landed at Manchester, from where they had to travel by coach back to Forfar.

In a statement, a spokesman for Highlands and Islands Airports said: "A Thomson charter aircraft had arranged to pick up 213 passengers from Inverness Airport on 13 February.

"In making these arrangements Thomson operations department had access to all information regarding Inverness Airport facilities.

"The pilot, having received this information, chose not to land at Inverness Airport.

"This is a matter for Thomson and Thomson customers."

The statement added: "We understand that an alternative aircraft was available at Glasgow, but that Thomson could not provide a crew."

SkiBound, which organises ski trips for school children across the country, said the delay would not impact the children's holiday.

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