Updated at 12.10am

Passengers on an Air Malta flight to London Heathrow, which had been scheduled to leave Malta at 7.55am, had been taken off the aircraft, which did not leave due to a malfunction.

A passenger on board told Times of Malta the aircraft had refueled but that there was no indication when it would be leaving.

Malta International Airport’s departure site initialy showed the flight’s estimated time of departure as 10am but this was later removed with the flight showing just a 'delayed' status.

At 10.05am, the crew served passengers drinks but they were not given any information.

The aircraft started taxying at around 10.15am with passengers being told that they should depart in about 10 minutes. But the engines were soon switched off again and an engineering team was back on the aircraft. By 10.45am, the passengers were finally taken off the aircraft.

At around noon, Air Malta decided to send the passengers to their destination using a replacement aircraft. The new flight is set to leave Malta at 1.45pm.

Earlier, a spokesman for Air Malta had said there was a minor technical issue which the airline's engineers were currently working upon.

The airline, he said, apologised for the delay but its primary concern was the safety of its crew and passengers.

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