Two men arrested after RAF Typhoon jet is scrambled to escort Lahore passenger flight plane to London Stansted Airport

According to one of the passengers, the aircraft's cabin crew said two men had repeatedly tried to get into the cockpit

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Two men were arrested on suspicion of endangering an aircraft after a passenger aircraft was escorted through British airspace by fighter jets and redirected to land at Stansted airport in Essex.

The two British men, aged 30 and 41, were held after RAF Typhoon jets were scrambled from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. to escort the aircraft, which had been travelling from Pakistan to Manchester.

Mashood Takwar, a spokesman for Pakistan International Airlines, said air traffic controllers in Manchester contacted the pilot 25 minutes before the aircraft was due to land, after receiving information from British security services.

The RAF jets were scrambled about 10 minutes before the Boeing 777, which departed from Lahore, with 297 passengers aboard, had been due to land in Manchester at 2pm.

Police boarded Pakistan International Airlines flight PK709 once it had landed at Stansted and removed the men amid reports of an on-board fight.

It is believed that a passenger allegedly threatened to blow up the aircraft after other passengers tried to intervene in a row he was involved in.

Murtaza Ali Shah, a journalist, said he had spoken to a friend on board the plane, Fakhir Iqbal, a political activist, who was sitting behind the man who made the threat.

Mr Shah said his friend told him: "Two guys started a row with a girl and lots of other people.

"Some people tried to calm them and asked them not to be rowdy and abusive.

"Fakhir told them to calm down.

"They said, 'Don't bloody speak to us or we will blow up the plane'.

"The crew came and spoke to them and they were openly threatening the staff.

"Fakhir went to other crew members and told them they were making threats."

Umari Nauman told Sky News: "The cabin crew informed us that basically they tried to come into the cockpit a few times and because they had been asked not to do that they got into a bit of an argument with the crew and made a few threats."

Passengers were ordered to leave their possessions on board before leaving the aircraft, which was directed to an isolated stand where it was  being forensically examined by specialist officers.

No suspicious objects had been found and the incident was not thought to be terrorism-related.