RAF Typhoon jets have had to escort a Ryanair passenger jet into Stansted airport after a security alert.
The alert occurred mid-flight, and caused the airspace to temporarily close as the plane was brought into land.
Officially, Ryanair has claimed the alert was from a ‘suspected hoax security alert’.
In the images, taken by Andy Longhurst, you can see the jets following the aircraft to the airport:
— Andy Longhurst (@AndyLonghurstUK) October 4, 2017
The flight was originally on its way to Luton airport, but was escorted to the ground early and landed in Stansted.
An RAF spokesman said:
The RAF can confirm quick reaction alert Typhoon aircraft were launched this morning from RAF Coningsby to intercept a civilian aircraft.
The aircraft was safely escorted to Stansted airport. The Typhoon aircraft were authorised to transit at supersonic speed for operational reasons; any inconvenience caused to local residents is regretted.
There has also been a statement released by Ryanair, which said the incident was carried out fully in line with procedures.
The spokesman said:
This flight from Kaunas to London Luton 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.
Stansted airport was locked down as a result of the security alert with witnesses saying as many as six or seven police cars arrived at the airport to deal with the suspected hoax.
Jason Maerz, 25, who works at Stansted, told Mirror Online:
I just arrived and parked my car and as I got out, six or seven police cars came through the security gates.
They were heading round past the cargo point and there were two Eurofighter jets flying overhead. One was circling quite high and the other was quite low down to the ground.
Everything seems to be normal inside the terminal. What’s going on is past the cargo area not actually at the airport terminal itself.
We'd like to advise you the airport is open and operating normally.
Flights were briefly held earlier while an aircraft diverted in to STN.
— Stansted Airport (@STN_Airport) October 4, 2017
The Ministry of Defence has confirmed the jets were scrambled from RAF Coningsby after an intercept request from a civilian airliner.
A National Air Traffic Services spokeswoman has said that statements claiming London airpsace is closed is ‘absolutely not true’.
London airspace is open. All we know is a flight has been diverted to Stansted. It was due to land at Luton.
Essex police has also confirmed in a statement they are aware of the incident, though they have no more information.
We are aware of an incident at Stansted airport. We will bring you more information when we can.
We are aware of an incident at Stansted Airport. We will bring you more information when we can.
— Essex Police (@EssexPoliceUK) October 4, 2017
Ryanair has recently been receiving a lot of press for the cancellation of thousands of flights over the coming months.
The cancellations are expected to have affected the plans of around 400,000 passengers.
The most recent came less than two weeks after announcements were made of cancellations to deal with a backlog of employee leave.
More details are currently not known about the incident, but we will report when more information is available.