A Ryanair passenger plane was intercepted by typhoon jets at Stansted Airport - here's why

Monday, 31st August 2020, 4:34 pm
Updated Monday, 31st August 2020, 4:57 pm
A RAF spokesperson explained that "Typhoon fighter aircrafts from RAF Coningsby were launched... to intercept a civilian aircraft” adding that “The aircraft was escorted safely to Stansted." (Shutterstock File Image)

Two men were arrested at Stansted Airport under the Terrorism Act after Typhoon jets intercepted a Ryanair passenger plane following a “potential security threat on board”.

Armed police surrounded the civilian plane once it was grounded and secured in an isolated part of Stansted airport.

Essex police then arrested a 34-year-old man from Kuwait and a 48-year-old man from Italy shortly after 7pm on Sunday.

Prior to their arrest the pair had been passengers on a Ryanair flight from Vienna.

In a statement, Essex Police said, "Counter Terrorism Policing officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit have this evening (Sunday) detained two men under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act (2000), adding that "enquiries are ongoing."

A RAF spokesperson explained that "Typhoon fighter aircrafts from RAF Coningsby were launched... to intercept a civilian aircraft” adding that “The aircraft was escorted safely to Stansted."

What was the ‘security threat’?

A spokesperson for Ryanair, the airline that owns the Lauda passenger aircraft, added further detail to the story explaining, "The crew of a Ryanair flight from Vienna to London Stansted this evening (30 Aug) were alerted of a potential security threat on board”.

A Ryanair spokesperson added, "In line with procedures, the captain informed UK authorities and continued to London Stansted, where the aircraft landed normally and taxied to a remote stand where passengers disembarked safely.

"Passengers in London Stansted waiting to depart to Vienna were transferred to a spare aircraft to minimise the delay to their flight.

The threat was in the form of a ‘suspicious device” found in a passenger toilet.

However after detainment and further investigation the device was found to be a mobile phone.

The men have since been released after the police confirmed they were not considered to have committed any crimes.