RAF fighter jets scrambled to intercept flight from Bucharest and escort plane to Birmingham

Cargo plane lands safely at Birmingham International Airport after losing communication

Lizzie Dearden
Tuesday 07 March 2017 09:09 GMT
An RAF Voyager refuelling aircraft and Typhoon jet during an operation to intercept a civilian plane on 7 March
An RAF Voyager refuelling aircraft and Typhoon jet during an operation to intercept a civilian plane on 7 March (@quizeye)

RAF jets have been scrambled to intercept a flight from Romania after it lost communications.

The aircraft took off from Bucharest at around 1.30am and landed safely in Birmingham at 7.30am, according to the radar tracking service Airlive.

Belgian F-16 fighter jets were also scrambled as the plane flew over the North Sea.

British RAF jets intercept Russian bombers near UK airspace

Witnesses photographed an RAF Typhoon and Voyager refuelling aircraft over Milton Keynes during the operation.

The Saab 340 aircraft, which came into service in 1987, is operated by Hungarian cargo airline Fleet Air International.

In recent days it has made stops in Brno, the Czech Republic, and Cluj-Napoca in Romania.

An spokesperson for the RAF said the aircraft was safely escorted to Birmingham International Airport.

“The RAF can confirm that Typhoon aircraft from RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, were launched this morning by Quick Reaction Alert mission to intercept a civilian aircraft that had lost communications,” he added.

The Quick Reaction Alert system sees the RAF deploy planes within minutes to intercept unidentified aircraft, which may have lost communication with air traffic control, have no flight plan or fail to transmit a required surveillance radar code.

Jets stationed at RAF Coningsby, RAF Lossiemouth and in the Falkland Islands are kept in readiness around the clock for the missions, controlled by "air battlespace controllers" at RAF Boulmer and RAF Scampton.

Several passenger planes have been intercepted as a precaution in recent months, with fighter jets also scrambled to track Russian military planes nearing British airspace.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in