A plane on its way from Hong Kong to London was ordered to land in Moscow on Tuesday for reasons Russian officials have yet to explain. A Virgin Atlantic jet with 183 passengers aboard was supposed to have flown directly to Heathrow but was ordered down while in Russian airspace, a Hong Kong spokeswoman for the airline said yesterday. 'There was nothing mechanically wrong with the plane and Virgin had filed a flight plan which complied with all normal procedures,' she said. 'However, the captain had no choice but to follow this instruction and the aircraft landed in Moscow.' This week's disruptions at Chek Lap Kok meant flight VS1201 was already a day behind schedule. The Airbus A340-300 was on the ground for 12 hours in Moscow. As soon as the crew entered the airport they were told they could take off, but by the time they were given a departure slot by air traffic control, the pilots were required by law to take a rest break. The spokeswoman said ground staff in Moscow gave the pilots no indication of why they were brought in. She said no one asked the 17 Virgin crew any questions and the plane was not inspected. Virgin is still seeking answers from Moscow. A later Hong Kong-London Virgin flight travelled as scheduled without interruption. In September last year, a Cathay Pacific jet with 260 people aboard came within seven seconds of colliding with a Russian freight plane over the province of Samara. A Tupolev 154 crossed in front of the Cathay Airbus A340 without any warning from air traffic control. It was estimated to have been 1.6km away when they crossed paths. Meanwhile, operations at Chek Lap Kok continued their slow return to normal yesterday, with 12 flights cancelled and 65 delayed despite an improvement in the weather. An Airport Authority spokesman said Hong Kong weather was not a factor; most of the flights were called off because airlines did not have planes available. He said the disruptions of the previous few days - the closure of the airport after Sunday's crash, and bad weather brought by Typhoon Sam - meant airlines did not necessarily have planes where they wanted them. Weather conditions at other airports could also be a factor in airlines' decisions on whether to fly, he said. Cathay Pacific said it was operating its full schedule yesterday. The in-town check-in service at the Hong Kong and Kowloon Airport Express stations, suspended since Sunday night, resumed at 7pm on Wednesday.