The flight from Kaunas, Lithuania, to Luton airport was diverted to Stansted airport where, upon landing, the plane was searched and nothing suspicious was found.
The alert was received before takeoff in Kaunas and the plane was searched and cleared by Lithuanian police, raising questions as to why it was necessary to divert the flight and, if the threat was still a concern, why the plane was allowed to leave the tarmac. Upon landing, the plane was searched and nothing suspicious was found.
The RAF Typhoon jets that were scrambled to escort the aircraft into Stansted were given permission to travel overland at supersonic speed, a move only granted in an emergency.
A Ryanair spokesman said: “This flight from Kaunas to London Luton was delayed ahead of takeoff after Lithuanian authorities received a suspected hoax security alert. Police carried out a security search and cleared the aircraft to return to service; customers boarded and the flight departed to Luton.”
“While on approach to Luton, upon the request of UK authorities, the aircraft diverted to London Stansted in line with security procedures, and landed normally at Stansted, where customers disembarked and were transferred to Luton by coach. Local police carried out a further search and cleared the aircraft to resume service once more.”
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) October 4, 2017
An RAF spokesman said: “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.”