RAF Typhoons Intercept Ryanair Flight, ‘Thankfully’ Not Terror Threat

August 31, 2020 Updated: September 1, 2020

Two British Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets were scrambled to intercept a Ryanair flight on its way from Vienna in Austria to London’s Stanstead airport on Sunday evening after the flight crew discovered a suspicious device on board.

The two Typhoon jets then escorted the Ryanair flight to Stanstead airport, a Ministry of Defence media spokesperson told The Epoch Times.

A British Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet taking off from RAF's Akrotiri base in Cyprus
A British Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet taking off from RAF’s Akrotiri base in Cyprus on Sept. 22, 2016. (Petros Karadjias/AFP via Getty Images)

The escorted flight landed safely at Stanstead just after 7 p.m. on Sunday, after which the matter was passed to the local police, a media spokesperson for Ryanair said in an email.

Potential Security Threat

The crew of the London-bound flight had raised the alarm after discovering “a potential security threat” on board, Ryanair said.

“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,” Ryanair said.

The potential terror threat then fell under the jurisdiction of the local police to investigate.

Two men were detained under the Terrorism Act of 2000 following reports of “a suspicious device in the bathroom of a plane,” the police counter-terrorism Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) said in a statement.

“After examination by specialist investigators, the object was found not to be of concern,” ERSOU said.

Released Without Charge

Following questioning, the two detained men, reportedly a 34-year-old man from Kuwait and a 48-year-old man from Italy, were released without charge.

ERSOU indicated that any such in-flight incidents are always taken seriously.

“We understandably take any reports of suspicious objects or behaviour on flights very seriously and thankfully on this occasion there was no cause for concern,” said Detective Superintendent Andy Waldie, ERSOU’s Counter Terrorism Policing unit chief.

“I’d like to thank those on the flight for their cooperation and understanding while officers conducted their enquiries,” he said.

The passengers waiting in London Stansted who were expecting to depart to Vienna on the intercepted aircraft were “transferred to a spare aircraft to minimise the delay to their flight,” Ryanair said.