A Ryanair flight from Lithuania to Luton has been escorted to Stansted Airport by fighter jets following a hoax security scare.
Passengers on the flight were greeted with “around 20-25 fully armed officers” when it landed on Wednesday morning (October 4) and are now being transferred to Luton Airport by coach.
The incident resulted in the brief suspension of flights at Stansted Airport and disruption to London’s airspace.
The plane, flying in from Kaunas Airport, landed at the Essex airport at around 8.55am, with photos and videos on social media showing RAF Typhoon jets accompanying the flight.
Essex Police said: “A Ryanair flight from Kaunas, Lithuania, to Luton Airport has been diverted to Stansted following reports of a security alert.
“The plane landed safely at around 8.55am and passengers are being safely brought off.
“The runway was closed for a short time but has now re-opened.
“Police are on the scene and enquiries are ongoing.”
Chief Inspector Richard Phillibrown said: “We take all intelligence received regarding potential threats to public safety very seriously.
“The safety of the public is paramount.
“I want to thank Stanstead Airport and all the passengers and crew involved for their patience and co-operation.”
Twitter user @zulu_wooloo was on the flight escorted by the jets, and provided updates after the plane landed.
He said: “Escorted off plane by armed police all standing in line. Around 20-25 fully armed officers.”
He said the bus was escorted by police to the terminal, where passengers are now collecting their luggage and waiting to be driven to Luton.
A spokesman for the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) earlier said airspace over the capital had not closed: “There was some disruption this morning but airspace is absolutely not closed at the moment.”
Speaking after the incident, Stansted Airport confirmed: “A Ryanair aircraft diverted into London Stansted at approximately 8.55am this morning.
“The aircraft which was flying from Kaunas to Luton, landed safely with Essex Police in attendance.
“Flight operations were briefly held while the aircraft landed and taxied to its parking stand.
“The airport is open and flights are arriving and departing as normal.”
And Ryanair added: “This flight from Kaunas to London Luton (October 4) diverted to London Stansted in line with procedures after Lithuanian authorities received a suspected hoax security alert.
“The aircraft landed normally at Stansted and customers will be transferred to Luton by coach when cleared to do so.”
A sonic boom was heard over Suffolk, police confirmed.
Flights to and from Heathrow, Gatwick and City airports were not affected.
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