Two RAF typhoon jets escorted a Pakistan International Airlines flight to London Stansted after a mid-air security alert due to a "disruptive passenger on board."
It was “not believed to be a hijack situation or terror matter”. However, an airline spokesman said UK authorities had “received some security threat through an anonymous phone call”.PIA
The Met said a Pakistani national on the flight had been wanted for arrest. In what it called an apparent coincidence. A 52-year-old Pakistani was arrested on suspicion of fraud on arrival. Police did not confirm whether the individual arrested on arrival at Stansted was the disruptive passenger.
“It appears to be a coincidence that there was a passenger on board who was due to be arrested in a pre-planned arrest.” said a Met police spokesman. “As far as we know it was not related to the divergence of the aircraft. Whether it was exacerbated by the passenger onboard who was to be arrested, we do not know.”PIA
Stansted said the aircraft was likely to continue its journey to Heathrow soon, pending police inquiries into the person on the plane. Initial reports of a "suspicious item" on-board seem to have been rejected.
In 2013 two British nationals were arrested after a PIA flight from Lahore to Manchester was diverted to Stansted following reports that they had tried to get into the cockpit. They were charged with threatening to blow up an aircraft. But were cleared after a judge ruled that they had no case to answer.
Typhoon pilots are on standby 24 hours a day to defend UK airspace.
Squadrons are based at RAF Coningsby, covering the south of the country. RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, to cover the north. The Quick Reaction Alert crews can take off within minutes to intercept aircraft which have caused concern.