Qatar Airways Bomb Threat: Fighter Jets Scramble, Passenger Arrested

A Qatar Airways jet had to make an emergency landing at England’s Manchester Airport today after learning a “possible device” could be on board, according to The Guardian.

The Guardian reports Manchester police arrested a passenger from flight QR23 on suspicion of creating a hoax bomb threat. The Manchester Evening News reports the man had passed a note to a member of the plane’s crew saying there was a bomb on board. Qatar Airways released the following statement:

Qatar Airways can confirm that flight QR23 from Doha to Manchester, an Airbus A330-300, landed safely at Manchester Airport ahead of its scheduled arrival time of 13:15. There were 269 passengers and 13 Qatar Airways crew on board. The crew onboard had received a threat about a possible device on board and Qatar Airways immediately took all the necessary precautions to alert British authorities. The crew is now fully assisting police at the airport with their inquiries. The safety and well-being of our passengers and crew is our top priority. As this is a matter of a police investigation, we cannot comment further at this time.

Manchester Police enlisted the help of the Royal Air Force after the plane’s pilot alerted them to a possible device onboard the aircraft, according to the Daily Mirror. Chief Superintendent John O’Hare said in a statement earlier today:

An incoming plane has been escorted into the airport by the Royal Air Force as a result of information received by the pilot about a possible device on board. We don’t know how genuine this threat is but it is absolutely vital we deal with the situation as a full emergency.

Matthew Cox, a passenger on the flight, told the BBC he saw a man in a green shirt being arrested by police, calling the whole incident “bizarre.” Josh Hartley, another passenger on the plane, said police officers came on board, “with Tasers out,” the BBC reports.

According to Manchester police, Manchester Airport is now operating normally. The Daily Mirror reports nine flights had to be diverted from landing at Manchester Airport because of the incident, five of them landing at Leeds Bradford airport.