British Airways could face £100m in compensation
The British Airways Dreamliner (not pictured) flew nine hours to Chennai after a lightning strike shortly after take-off left it with up to 46 holes Getty Images/Jack Taylor

Pilots of a British Airways plane did not let a little lightning stop it from getting to its destination.

The BA-35 service from Heathrow to Chennai, was struck by lightning shortly after its 2pm take-off on 22 July.

The crew decided to keep flying the 8,242km route and the plane reached Chennai only 45 minutes later than scheduled, at 4.17am on 23 July. After inspection, it was found have "between 42 and 46 holes".

There is no suggestion that the plane was not fit to complete its journey and there were no other issues on the flight.

Tests were carried out on the Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner which was grounded for its return leg, prompting the airline to book travellers onto other flights.

The plane returned without passengers to London on 29 July, checked and is now back in active duty. The airline said that at no point were passengers at risk after the incident.

"We apologised to customers and rebooked them onto alternative services after our flight from Chennai to London was cancelled on Sunday following a technical issue," a British Airways spokesperson said.

"The aircraft was inspected by our highly qualified engineers before returning to service. The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our priority," the Telegraph reported.

Lightning strikes can happen regularly to a plane - up to every 1,000 flight hours and aircraft are engineered to handle them. The lightweight carbon composite modern planes are made from protect the seated space inside the cabin from electrical currents.