Thursday, 27 June 2019

RAF Typhoons scramble to escort Air India aircraft to London Stansted Airport after in-flight security incident

Photo Lee Plama/Twitter
Two of the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force Typhoons were scrambled at short notice today to escort an Air India passenger jet to London Stansted Airport following a mid-air security incident. 

The jets, forming part of the UK's Quick Reaction Alert squad were dispatched from  RAF Coningsby to intercept an Air India Boeing 777 aircraft operating flight AI191 that was flying over UK air space enroute to Newark, New Jersey from Mumbai.

The jets flew at supersonic speeds to rendezvous with the passenger jet, causing a sonic boom that was widely experienced by people on social media. Derbyshire Police tweeted: "If you heard a loud bang over #Derbyshire today, this was as a result of a Royal Air Force jet passing over that caused a sonic boom."

An RAF spokesperson also confirmed that "Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon aircraft were launched this morning from RAF Coningsby to intercept a civilian aircraft. - "The aircraft was safely escorted to Stansted airport.

Air India initially posted on twitter that a bomb threat was the cause of the diversion and emergency landing,  however, the firm later deleted the tweet and instead referred to the incident as a "security threat".

In a statement, an official from Stansted confirmed the aircraft landed at the Essex airport at around 10.15 and was parked in an isolated area, away from the main terminal, which is standard procedure for incidents of this kind.

The passengers were taken off the aircraft and the local Essex and airport police investigated the incident and were able to establish that there was nothing suspicious on the aircraft. The aircraft and passengers recommenced their journey to the US this evening.

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