***Update: 08/31 @ 12:38 UTC – Added updated statement from Essex Police***
An Airbus A320 operated by Ryanair subsidiary Lauda was yesterday escorted to Stansted Airport by Typhoon fighter jets. Upon arrival, two passengers were detained under the Terrorism Act. According to reports, a suspicious object was found onboard the aircraft.
Thankfully security threats on aircraft are thankfully rare. However, when they do occur over the UK, we often see planes accompanied by fighter jets and diverted to London’s Stansted Airport. The airport is the preferred location for dealing with emergencies, as it has ample ramp space away from the terminal and runway area to deal with such incidents on the ground.
FR 7364 is a twice-weekly Ryanair flight from Vienna to London Stansted. While all aircraft in the Ryanair livery are Boeing 737s, the flight was operated by an Airbus A320 belonging to the airline’s Lauda subsidiary. Ryanair purchased Lauda from Nikki Lauda before his passing.
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Yesterday, despite departing from Vienna a little late, everything was looking normal for FR 7364. According to data from FlightRadar24.com, the aircraft, OE-LMB, departed from Vienna 20 minutes late at 18:35. The plane climbed to 38,000 feet where it remained before starting its descent abeam Brussels. According to the Daily Mail, a suspicious object was found onboard the aircraft.
At around 19:00 local time, Typhoon fighter jets departed from RAF Coningsby to intercept the Airbus A320 on its approach to Stansted. At 19:21, the aircraft touched down.
It then taxied to a remote stand on the west side of the airport where it was met by counter-terrorism police. According to the BBC, two men, a 48-year-old from Italy and a 34-year-old from Kuwait, were detained by the police under the United Kingdom’s Terrorism Act.
Fortunately, the incident unfolded at Ryanair’s largest hub. As such, the Irish low-cost carrier used one of its spare Boeing 737s to operate the return leg of the flight. The incident aircraft departed back for Vienna at 23:22. Commenting on the incident, a Ryanair spokesperson told Simple Flying,
“The crew of a Ryanair flight from Vienna to London Stansted yesterday 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.”
At 12:38 on Monday, Essex Police confirmed via Facebook that the suspicious device in the bathroom was found not to be of concern. Both detained men are not thought to have committed an offense. Their full update is below:
Yesterday’s intercept is the third of three similar incidents to have been encountered by Ryanair in the past two months. On July 13th, a Ryanair Boeing 737 flying from Krakow to Dublin was diverted to Stansted with a Typhoon jet escort following a bomb threat.
Just days later, on July 17th, another Ryanair Boeing 737 flying from London Stansted to Oslo received a bomb threat. Following a safe landing in Oslo, the aircraft was dealt with by the Norwegian police. In that incident, one British man was arrested.
What do you make of the incident? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!