BRASILIA (Reuters) - An Avianca Airlines passenger jet safely made an emergency landing in Brasilia on Friday after its front landing gear failed to deploy, authorities said.
None of the 49 passengers and crew of five on the Fokker 100 jet were injured when the plane landed on its rear wheels before lowering the nose onto the runway, the Brazilian Air Force said. Airport fire crews foamed the plane to prevent fire.
The pilot calmly declared an emergency and circled the Brazilian capital to shed fuel and lower the weight of the aircraft, according to a recording of his conversation with the control tower played on Globo News television channel.
"The plane suffered a hydraulic problem and the front landing gear did not open, so the pilot did a belly landing," an Air Force spokesman said.
Avianca Brazil, which has grown rapidly in the Brazilian market by opening regional routes, is owned by the Synergy Group controlled by Brazilian airline entrepreneur German Efromovich.
Efromovich also owns Colombian airline Avianca, which has joined Taca of El Salvador to form conglomerate AviancaTaca, one of Latin America's leading carriers.
The emergency landing closed one of Brasilia's two runways, delaying flights into Brazil's fourth largest airport.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Bernard Orr)