RAF fighters escort Airbus flight to safety due to “disruptive” passenger

RAF fighters escort Airbus flight to safety due to “disruptive” passenger

Two RAF fighter jets have escorted an Airbus to Stansted Airport due to a “disruptive” passenger.

The Etihad Airways jet had been scheduled to land at Heathrow shortly before midday on Monday, but was diverted north east to Stansted after the pilot contacted air traffic control to say a passenger had begun making threats.

Two RAF Typhoon jets were scrambled to accompany the 300-seater airliner. Waiting police immediately swooped on the man, a British national, and led him away for questioning.

An Essex Police spokeswoman said: “A 37-year-old man, a British national, has been arrested following an incident onboard an Etihad Airways plane travelling from Abu Dhabi to Heathrow.

“The pilot reported a passenger causing disruption and making threats. The plane was diverted to Stansted Airport were it landed just before midday.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The two RAF Typhoon fighter jets were flown from RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, to attend the incident.

Stansted Airport said operations were suspended while the plane landed.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “Typhoon aircraft were launched this morning to escort a passenger aircraft due to an incident on board. The aircraft landed safely at Stansted Airport.”

An Etihad Airways spokeswoman said: “The flight (EY19) was diverted from Heathrow to Stansted. This was done to offload a disruptive passenger.

“It was a question of inappropriate comments made on the flight and a disruptive passenger. There was no threat to the safety of the aircraft or the passengers.”