New BA Dreamliner gives city crowds a scare

The British Airways plane flies over the centre of Edinburgh at an unexpected altitude
The British Airways plane flies over the centre of Edinburgh at an unexpected altitude
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Onlookers could have been forgiven for thinking disaster was imminent as a passenger jet swooped over their heads at just 1000 feet above the city centre.

But the low-flying plane was just British Airways showing off its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner on its maiden voyage to Edinburgh Airport.

Festival crowds feared the worst as the jet toured the Capital, many flocking to the Evening News via social media for reassurance.

Jen Cross, 28, a marketing and events manager who works in the city centre, was outside the Usher Hall in Lothian Road when she heard the plane pass overhead.

She said: “It was heading away from the airport and it was really low – we genuinely thought it was going to crash.

“Everyone there seemed to be thinking the same thing, we all paused for a minute and were expecting to hear a huge bang.

“It would have been better if there had been more of an effort to let people know it was happening because we can’t have been the only people to think there might have been serious problems.

“After it happened, I sent a tweet to BA to ask them what was going on, but I didn’t get any reply.”

The aircraft can fly further and more economically than similar-sized aircraft, with its quieter noise and lower-pressure cabins said to reduce the effects of jet lag.

But the plane has been beset by a series of faults, including a fire and emergency landings, with the worldwide fleet grounded for three months earlier this year because of overheated batteries.

Another eyewitness said onlookers in the city centre had been left stunned.

The said: “I’ve never seen a plane fly so low that far away from an airport in my life. The noise was deafening and it looked like it could almost have knocked the spire off the Tron Kirk.

“Everyone was talking about it – they couldn’t believe what they’d seen.”

The Dreamliner touched down safely at Edinburgh Airport before taking a group of frequent fliers on a sightseeing journey above the Highlands and Islands.

Passengers included VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay, Harvey Nichols regional stores director Gordon Drummond and Edinburgh Lord Provost Donald Wilson.

British Airways apologised for any disturbance caused by the low-flying plane, but said it had done everything possible to publicise the flight.

A spokesman said: “All the approval was in place for the flight and the authorities were aware of our plans.

“The flight was announced on social networks this morning – we’re sorry if anyone was disturbed by it.”

A bit too close for comfort

@daddybroon: Flew right over us as I walked past Usher Hall – seemed scarily low!

@Robertv: G-ZBJA just flew over Edinburgh city centre at <2000ft. Dreamliner was a bit close for comfort! Any gossip???

@Roberts250: Saw the #Dreamliner over town, very weird seeing a plane that low and big!

@TheBeerCast: I think there’ll have been a few spilled pints in Edinburgh after that Dreamliner buzzed the city about 200ft off the ground . . .

@dscoleman: Was on the Royal Mile you know minding my own and here come this Dreamliner right over me.

@BeerRugbyTravel: BA Dreamliner just did a fly past . . . surpised not to see flames coming from it!