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22 February 2024

RAF jets escorted diverted Etihad flight

Dubai’s Emirates and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways have been listed among the most dependable airlines. (File)

By Reuters

It has emerged in the British press that fighter jets escorted the Etihad Airbus into Stansted airport after a passenger made threats on board.

The Etihad flight heading from Abu Dhabi to London's Heathrow Airport was redirected after the pilot contacted air traffic control to say a man had begun making threats.

The News of the World reported that two RAF Typhoon jets were scrambled to accompany the 300-seater airliner belonging to the national airline of the United Arab Emirates before it landed shortly before midday.

The Heathrow-bound Etihad plane was diverted to Stansted after a 37-year-old man 'made threats' on board.

Waiting police immediately moved in 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.

'No-one has been injured and the airport has been operating normally.'

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman 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.'

A Stansted spokesman added: 'Etihad flight EY19 to London was diverted to Stansted in order to offload a disruptive guest on board.

Another man said the 37-year-old man, who is not thought to live in Britain, added: 'I heard he was very drunk and was making a scene.'

Passengers were kept on board the plane at Stansted while it was refuelled and then expected to fly on to Heathrow shortly after 4pm.

Essex Police said it had taken a decision not to reveal where the arrested man lives or what he is alleged to have said.