RAF fighter jets escort Ryanair plane into Stansted airport after security incident

Police officers by the Ryanair plane at Stansted airport where it was escorted into by RAF jets. (@zulu_wooloo/PA Wire)

Two RAF fighter jets have escorted a Ryanair flight into Stansted.

The plane was diverted to the airport after a ‘suspected hoax security alert’, according to BBC Essex.

A spokesman for the airport, in Essex, said police were on the scene after the passenger plane was diverted from its route between Kaunas, Lithuania, and Luton Airport, in Bedfordshire.

The track on FlightRadar24 of Ryanair flight FR2145, flying from Lithuania to Luton, which has been escorted into Stansted Airport by RAF jets. (PA Images)

The Royal Air Force confirmed that Typhoon aircraft were launched this morning to intercept a civilian aircraft.

Andy Longhurst posted pictures of the Ryanair plane being tailed by a jet on Twitter.

Footage posted on Twitter by Saffron Walden golf club shows a jet in the air over the airport.

Stansted airport said that it was open and operating normally after flights were briefly held while the plane was diverted.

Essex Police tweeted: “We are aware of an incident at Stansted Airport. We will bring you more information when we can.”

A sonic boom echoed across the Suffolk skyline when the jets were scrambled, Suffolk Police confirmed.

Police officers by the Ryanair plane at Stansted airport (@zulu_wooloo/PA Wire)

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.”

The so-called Quick Reaction Alert is said to be a routine part of the RAF’s role in defending UK airspace.

Police officers by the Ryanair plane (@zulu_wooloo/PA Wire)

Aircraft responding to QRAs are kept on high alert and can take off “within minutes”, the air force said, and are often used to intercept unidentified planes.

Typhoon pilots at RAF Coningsby and RAF Lossiemouth are on standby 24 hours a day to defend UK airspace.

Stansted is a designated airport for dealing with hijacks and major security alerts.

Such incidents are normally dealt with in a remote part of the airfield to the north-west of the terminal building.