UK jets escort plane over possible 'device'

Qatar airways passenger plane was escorted into Manchester airport after pilot had reported possible device on board.

    Armed police have removed a man from the aircraft in connection with the incident [Reuters]
    Armed police have removed a man from the aircraft in connection with the incident [Reuters]

    British fighter jets escorted a Qatar Airways passenger plane into Manchester airport on Tuesday after the pilot had reported that a suspect device was possibly on board, police said.

    Armed police later arrested a passenger on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat.

    In a statement posted on their Facebook page, Qatar Airways said: "The crew had received a threat about a possible device on board and #QatarAirways immediately took all the necessary precautions to alert British authorities." 

    There were 269 passengers and 13 crew members on board flight QR23 from Doha to Manchester.

    Manchester Airport was closed for 25 minutes before re-opening, an airport spokesman said.

    Britain's Ministry of Defence said "the incident was now being handled by civilian authorities."

    "We can confirm that Typhoon aircraft were launched from RAF Coningsby in their quick reaction alert role this afternoon to investigate a civilian aircraft whose pilot had requested assistance," Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

    "The aircraft was escorted to Manchester where it landed safely." the statement added.

    Greater Manchester Police said on their official Twitter feed that they had detained one man in connection with the incident.

    "A man who was on board the plane ... has been arrested on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat," they said.

    Britain has a standard response to such incidents which always involves scrambling fighter jets and emergency services.

    In May 2013, fighter jets escorted a Pakistan International Airlines passenger plane to Stansted Airport near London where police went on board and arrested two men on suspicion of endangering an aircraft.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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