British police have arrested a man on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat after an RAF fighter jet was called to escort a Qatar Airways passenger plane into Manchester Airport on Tuesday. The plane’s pilot had reported he’d received a tip-off that a suspect device was on board.
The airport was closed for 25 minutes before re-opening, an airport spokesman said. Qatar Airways said the incident involved an Airbus A330-300 plane and had 269 passengers and 13 crew on board. The flight had been arriving direct from Doha.
A Reuters photographer saw armed police remove a handcuffed male passenger dressed in baggy trousers and a sports shirt from the plane.
“We can confirm that Typhoon aircraft were launched from RAF Coningsby in their quick reaction alert role this afternoon to investigate a civilian aircraft whose pilot had requested assistance,” Britain’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement. “The aircraft was escorted to Manchester where it landed safely. This incident is now being handled by the civilian authorities.”
Greater Manchester Police said on their official Twitter feed that they had detained one man in connection with the incident.
“A man who was on board the plane … has been arrested on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat,” they said.
Britain has a standard response to such incidents which always involves scrambling fighter jets and emergency services.