Fighter jets escort plane to Birmingham Airport - The Solihull Observer

Fighter jets escort plane to Birmingham Airport

Solihull Editorial 11th Mar, 2017   0

FIGHTER jets were called to intercept a flight from Bucharest to Birmingham on Tuesday after the plane lost all communications.

RAF Typhoon jets were scrambled from Coningsby air base in Lincolnshire to intercept the Saab 340 aircraft and its three crew over the north sea.

It was then escorted to Birmingham Airport, where the runway was closed for half an hour at around 7.30am.

The cargo plane, which had three crew on board, was initially intercepted over the North Sea after it left the Romanian capital.

Shortly after guiding the plane to safety, one of the fighter jets was seen being refuelled by RAF Voyager more than 30,000ft above Rutland (pictured).

An airport spokesperson said: “We can confirm that a private Saab 340 aircraft inbound from Bucharest to Birmingham and carrying three crew encountered communication difficulties during a flight earlier today.

“In accordance with normal operating procedures the aircraft was intercepted by military jets on arrival into UK airspace and was escorted up to its scheduled arrival into Birmingham.”

An RAF Spokesperson added: “The Royal Airforce can confirm that Typhoon aircraft from RAF Coningsby were launched this morning by Quick Reaction Alert mission to intercept a civilian aircraft that had lost communications.”

Quick Reaction Alert missions are launched by the RAF to intercept unidentified planes which have no flight plan, may have lost contact with air traffic control or failed to transmit a surveillance radar code.

Aircraft assigned to QRA are ‘held at immediate readiness’ to protect the United Kingdom and can take off within minutes.

The planes are re-fuelled mid-air on the way back to base to ensure they are ready to react within minutes to any further emergencies.


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