x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Etihad flight diverted due to 'disruptive' passenger

An Etihad Airways flight bound for London's Heathrow Airport was diverted and escorted in to land after a passenger became "disruptive".

ABU DHABI // An Etihad Airways flight bound for London’s Heathrow Airport was diverted and escorted to nearby Stansted airport yesterday afternoon by fighter jets due to comments from a “disruptive” passenger.

“Etihad flight EY19 to London was diverted to Stansted in order to offload a disruptive guest on board,” a spokesperson for the airline said.

Two RAF Typhoon jets were scrambled to accompany the aircraft before it landed at Stansted Airport, according to the Press Association news agency.

An Essex Police spokeswoman told the agency that a 37-year-old Briton was arrested after it touched down.

She said: "A 37-year-old man, a British national, has been arrested following an incident onboard an Etihad Airways plane travelling from Abu Dhabi to Heathrow.

"The pilot reported a passenger causing disruption and making threats. The plane was was diverted to Stansted Airport were it landed just before midday."

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: "Typhoon aircraft were launched this morning to escort a passenger aircraft due to an incident on board. The aircraft landed safely at Stansted Airport."

An Etihad spokesperson said there was no direct threat to the safety of the plane, which took off from Abu Dhabi.

“This was a simple case of inappropriate comments made by a disruptive passenger – there was no threat to the safety of the aircraft or passengers.”

The plane from Abu Dhabi, landed at about mid-day UK time, a spokeswoman for Stansted Airport said.

*With agencies

vtodorova@thenational.ae