Thomas Cook has rubbished reports that one of its rescue flights was aborted because of damage caused by volcanic ash.
In fact, the real cause of the problem was a minor technical fault with the aircraft’s air-conditioning system.
In a recording of the pilot of flight TCX 952P from Manchester to Crete he reported smelling ash and said an engine bleed had failed.
The flight then returned to Manchester.
A Thomas Cook spokesperson said: “Safety is of paramount importance to us so when the aircraft developed a minor technical fault with its air-conditioning, we took the decision to return it to Manchester as a precautionary measure.
“The development of the fault categorically had nothing to do with volcanic ash, and while there were no customers on board, at no point were our crew or the aircraft in any danger.
“The aircraft is already back in service and joining the many Thomas Cook Airlines rescue flights currently returning stranded passengers to the UK.”
The rescue flight was half an hour behind another Thomas Cook aircraft making the same journey and was one of nearly 60 Thomas Cook rescue flights that flew yesterday.