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Fighter jet escorts Qatari plane into UK airport

Suspect is in police custody on suspicion of making a 'hoax bomb threat'

Published: Updated:

A Qatar Airways passenger plane was escorted by British fighter jets into Manchester Airport in the northwest of the United Kingdom on Tuesday after the airline received a threat about a possible device on board.

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.

A Reuters photographer saw armed police remove a handcuffed male passenger dressed in baggy trousers and a sports shirt from the plane.

The UK defense ministry said Typhoon aircraft had been dispatched as part of their “quick reaction alert role” to investigate the a civilian pilot whose pilot had sought assistance.

"The aircraft was escorted to Manchester where it landed safely. This incident is now being handled by the civilian authorities,” the ministry said in a statement.

One of the passengers, John Hartley, posted a picture of the Typhoon to Twitter as the warplane escorted the airliner to the airport.

“On my way home, thanks for all the support,” he said in one Twitter post.

Qatar Airways said in a statement that 269 passengers and 13 crew members were on board the airliner and that the company immediately took all the needed precautions to alert British authorities.

“The crew is now fully assisting police at the airport with their inquiries,” the statement said.

Britain has a standard response to such incidents which always involves scrambling fighter jets and emergency services.

In May 2013, fighter jets escorted a Pakistan International Airlines passenger plane to Stansted Airport near London where police went on board and arrested two men on suspicion of endangering an aircraft.

(With Reuters)