Two Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoons were scrambled to intercept a Ryanair flight landing at London Stansted Airport from Vienna, according to reports.
The two Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) aircraft took off from RAF Coningsby and were supported by an RAF Voyager aerial refueling tanker based at RAF Brize Norton.
The jets intercepted a Laudamotion Airbus A320 airliner, which was operating the Ryanair FR 7364 flight, following reports of a suspicious object in the toilet. Lauda is a subsidiary of Ryanair Holdings.
A Ryanair spokesman said: “The crew of a Ryanair flight from Vienna to London Stansted this evening (30 Aug) alerted of a potential security threat on board. 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. This is now a matter for the local police,” he added.
The passenger jet landed at Stansted at around 7.20 pm and was surrounded by armed police. According to reports, the Essex Police arrested a 34-year-old man from Kuwait and a 48-year-old man from Italy on suspicion of terrorism following the incident.
“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),” the Essex Police said in a statement.
“Enquiries are ongoing,” the statement added
According to witnesses, two RAF Typhoons continued circling around the airport after the plane landed. According to the Mail Online, the jets are thought to have then headed in the direction of Cheltenham to be refueled, before appearing to return towards the base at RAF Coningsby.
An RAF spokesperson said: “Typhoon fighter aircraft from RAF Coningsby were launched this evening (Sunday) to intercept a civilian aircraft. The aircraft was escorted safely to Stansted.”