UK military jets escort civilian plane to London airport

AP News
Posted: Feb 07, 2017 2:46 PM
UK military jets escort civilian plane to London airport

LONDON (AP) — British fighter jets escorted a Pakistani civilian airliner to Stansted Airport near London on Tuesday after a passenger became disruptive, authorities said.

The Royal Air Force said it launched Typhoon jets from a base in eastern England on Tuesday afternoon, and that the airliner "was intercepted and safely escorted to Stansted Airport," north of the capital.

The plane was a Pakistan International Airlines flight from Lahore bound for London's Heathrow Airport, according to Stansted Airport.

Essex Police said the diversion was due to a "disruptive passenger." Officers spoke to people on the plane and the airport remained open, it said.

London police later said that a 52-year-old passenger on the plane was arrested on suspicion of fraud offenses. He had been due to be arrested at Heathrow when the plane landed.

Police didn't give his name or nationality. Authorities were unable to say whether he was the same person who had been disruptive, but did point out that he hadn't been charged with causing the upheaval.

Essex Police said earlier that the incident "is not believed to be a hijack situation or terror matter."

The airline said in a statement that the U.K. authorities "received some vague security threat through an anonymous phone call."

"All passengers onboard are safe and being looked after by PIA's local management," the statement said. "Passengers will be provided surface transport to London."