EasyJet has admitted making a “genuine mistake” in failing to comply with EU law in offering just €250 in compensation to passengers on a flight which was forced to land when engine panels flew off.

The budget airline should have offered passengers €400 due to the length of the journey.

This follows an Airbus A320 being grounded shortly after take off on a service from Milan to Lisbon earlier this month.

Passengers were given vouchers for food but were told that when their next flight arrived in Lisbon five hours late at 2am, easyJet would not contribute to the cost of a taxi to their hotel, The Times reported on Saturday.

Under EU passengers rights legislation airlines must pay passengers between €250 and €600 depending on the distance of their flight and length of delay, unless the airline can demonstrate that the disruption was the result of “extraordinary circumstances.”

An easyJet spokeswomen told the newspaper: “This is a genuine mistake – we were trying to act quickly in order to contact our passengers and as a result we made an error with the calculation.

“Milan to Lisbon is 79 miles more than the €250 compensation limit and so we should have paid €400 per passengers, the higher level of compensation. We are now writing to all passengers to rectify this and ensure they receive the correct amount.”

The airline is conducting its own probe into the incident, with the Italian aviation safety agency ANSV confirming that parts of the engine’s fan cowls had detached during take off.