British Airways plane grounded at Heathrow Airport
British Airways Plane Makes Emergency Landing after Engine Fire - (Reuters file photo)

A British Airways plane made an emergency landing at Heathrow after one of its engines caught fire soon after take-off.

Airbus A319 experienced "an engine surge" on Thursday, but it managed to touch down safely, a BA spokesperson said.

The plane, en route to Lyon in France, was making spluttering noises as it took off and the engine was spitting fire, an eyewitness told BBC.

"I was in the petrol station opposite the airport which is when I heard the bang, so I turned around and the airplane had flames spitting out of the engine with a spluttering noise as it was taking off," said the person, who works near Heathrow.

The witness said the engine was spitting flames intermittently as the plane climbed. "Lots of blue lights then emerged on the airport while the plane, I guess, turned around to make an emergency landing."

BA said the crew kept the passengers informed about the situation and shut down the engine that caught fire before making the emergency landing.

"We train our pilots to the very highest standards including how to respond to these type of events, and the engine was immediately shut down," the airline said in a statement.

Last year, an Oslo-bound British Airways plane had made emergency landing at Heathrow after one of its engines caught fire.