LATEST: The flight touched down shortly after 7.10pm on Monday.
AFP photographed the plane shortly after landing.
Fire engines immediately appeared alongside the aircraft but no flames were apparent.
A passenger on board recorded and then tweeted the moment of landing, and it seemed to be pretty smooth, considering the tense build up.
— Aaron C. (@thelastfedor) February 3, 2020
Passengers could be heard giving the pilot a round of applause.
The flight , number AC837, which took off from Madrid bound for Toronto called in the emergency after damaging the undercarriage during take off.
The Boeing 767 reportedly had 128 passengers on board.
⚠️ El piloto del vuelo #AC837 de @AirCanada informa al control aéreo de @ENAIRE que aterrizará a las 19:15 hora local. En unos minutos iniciará su aproximación.@aena @mitmagob @112cmadrid pic.twitter.com/wf4R66IoC9
— ENAIRE (@ENAIRE) February 3, 2020
Earlier the Spanish airforce set an F-18 to accompany the Air Canada aircraft and examine the damage as it circled Madrid. Footage taken by a passenger on board shows the fighter jet alongside.
Pilots' union Sepla reported that the aircraft had damaged its undercarriage and knocked out one engine and said it would be circling for three hours to burn fuel before attempting the landing.
Más problemas en Barajas: a las 15h, un Boeing 767 de Air Canada ha perdido piezas del tren de aterrizaje que han entrado en el motor, obligándolo a declarar emergencia. Ahora deberá estar tres horas quemando combustible.
— Sepla (@sepla_pilotos) February 3, 2020
It has been circling the airport while on the ground emergency vehicles line up next to the runway.
A sound recording was released of the pilot informing passengers of the plan for an emergency landing in which he informed them that although there was one wheel damaged, he did not forsee a problem in landing the aircraft.
“We are going to land at Barajas airport but as the tanks are full of fuel we will continue to stay in the air until we use up some fuel to be lighter at the time of landing. Everything is under control. This plane has landing gear which include eight wheels at the rear, and on each side and in the front too, and we have lost only one, so there will be no problem for landing. Thank you very much for your patience,” he said.
Live feeds broadcast on social media showed flights coming in to the airport in anticpation of the emergency landing.
— Reuters Latam (@ReutersLatam) February 3, 2020
Flight trackers showed the route of the plane as it circled the airport to reduce fuel.
What´s going on in #Madrid #Barajas? a few hours ago it was closed by drone alert at this time Air Canada fligth #AC837 holding at low altitude just after take off, inbound traffic holding too??https://t.co/FAXSmVafLQ pic.twitter.com/f0IkYPOEhh
— Manu Gómez (@GDarkconrad) February 3, 2020
Earlier in the day the airspace at Barajas airport was closed after drone activity was detected in the airport vicinity. It was reopened just half an hour before the Air Canada flight got into difficulties. It was as yet unclear whether the two events were connected.
A statement from Air Canada email to The Local Spain said that passengers had been informed of the “mechanical problem”.
“Air Canada flight AC837, Madrid to Toronto, experienced an engine issue shortly after take-off. A tire also reportedly ruptured on take-off, one of 10 on this model of aircraft,” a spokesman wrote.
“The aircraft opted to return to Madrid and is currently circling to use up fuel and lighten the aircraft for landing. The aircraft, a Boeing 767-300, is designed to operate on one engine and our pilots are fully trained for this eventuality.
“Nonetheless, an emergency was declared in order to obtain landing priority. There are 128 passengers on board. We have no further details on the cause at present.”
More to follow…