THE son of the captain who collapsed at the controls of a holiday airliner said his father died doing a job he loved.

A co-pilot safely landed the 220-passenger Britannia Airways Boeing 757 at Malaga airport in Spain after Captain Roger Attenborough, 54, had a heart attack during the plane's descent on Sunday afternoon.

Mr Royd Attenborough, who is also a trained pilot, said: ``It has come as a complete shock. The only consolation is that he died flying. It was a job he loved and it was all he ever wanted to do.''

Mr Attenborough went on: ``Dad was fit and well and passed all his six-month medicals with flying colours and we thought he would be looking forward to a long and healthy retirement.

``Fortunately, he died with no risk to the passengers thanks to the professionalism and training of his co-pilot.''

Captain Attenborough and his wife Nikki had one other son, Gordon, 21. The family live at Kempston near Bedford.

The captain had collapsed as the flight from Luton descended on its way into Malaga.

While cabin crew rushed to help him, the co-pilot landed the plane.

``We are all deeply saddened and shocked by this news and I know that many friends and colleagues of Captain Attenborough throughout the airline will wish to join me in offering condolences and deepest sympathy to his family,'' said Britannia managing director Roger Burnell.