Dubai: An Emirates flight to London’s Gatwick Airport has been forced to divert after a runway was closed on Monday, an airline spokesperson told Gulf News.

Flight EK15, operated by an Airbus A380, diverted to London Heathrow shortly after noon GMT after a spillage reportedly closed the runway.

“Emirates flight EK15 from Dubai to London Gatwick has diverted to London Heathrow due to a runway closure at London Gatwick Airport,” an Emirates spokesperson said by email.

"The aircraft will leave for London Gatwick after refuelling and reopening of the runway."

The spokesperson said the airline 'apologises for the inconvenience', adding: “The safety of our crew and passengers is of paramount importance and will not be compromised.”

Jade Louise Davis, who told Gulf News she was passenger on-board flight EK15, said passengers had been advised by Emirates crew they could not leave the aircraft, which was to wait on the ground at London Heathrow for three hours before it could take off for Gatwick.

“We have asked for alternate methods to be used such as coaches as it would be a lot quicker, but have been told Heathrow passengers have priority,” said Davis, who is from Crawley in England.

Davis, who started her journey in Perth, Australia,  said "There are small children [on-board] who are getting very agitated.”

Emirates flights scheduled to depart Gatwick were also affected with flights EK12 and EK16 to Dubai delayed by two hours, according to the airline’s website.

Dozens of flights were reportedly delayed and diverted. Britain’s The Independent reported that the reason for the runway closure was fuel dumped on the tarmac by a Virgin Boeing 747 aircraft.