A screenshot of a social media video showing an Air China plane on fire. Picture: Twitter

It started with the plumes of smoke billowing from the aircraft and then firefighters were called in when this Air China plane was on fire.

Passengers were boarding the scheduled flight at Beijing Capital International Airport on Tuesday shortly after 5pm when the plane caught fire.

Social media videos and pictures show the clouds of smoke billowing from the aircraft, although there were no visible flames.

Shocked passengers were seen standing in the corridor of the airport, while Air China staff and crew from the flight are also quickly getting to safety.

Air China later confirmed in a statement that there were no injuries and, that at the time of the fire, the cause was unknown.

What the airline did confirm though is that the smoke came from the plane’s front cargo hold.

In a Twitter thread @ChinaAviationReview published pictures of the inside of the plane which clearly shows the fire damage.

The South China Morning Post reported that "the crew quickly executed the firefighting measures and organized the safe relocation of all passengers.” 

It does appear that this was an isolated incident and thankfully none of the passengers or Air China crew were on board the plane at the time of the fire and everyone escaped without injury.