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Manchester airport temporarily closed and flights diverted after bomb threat to Emirates jet

Greater Manchester Police ‘made aware of an email claiming there was a suspicious package’ on the aircraft

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Wednesday 18 October 2023 06:58 BST
Related video: Plane forced to abort landing at Manchester airport during Storm Otto

Manchester airport, one of the three busiest in the UK, halted flights on Tuesday evening while police investigated a bomb threat made towards an Emirates flight from Dubai.

The airline’s Airbus A380 “SuperJumbo” touched down a few minutes late at 7.21 pm after a normal flight from the UAE hub.

At the same time, Greater Manchester Police were “made aware of an email claiming there was a suspicious package” on the aircraft.

A police spokesperson said: “The aircraft had landed at Manchester airport and was held for further assessment.”

While the plane was held on the apron, airfield activities stopped – with three incoming flights diverted to nearby airports.

A British Airways arrival from London Heathrow and an easyJet flight from Palma de Mallorca both diverted to Liverpool.

Jet2’s arrival from Paphos in Cyprus diverted to Leeds Bradford, the airline’s main base.

The closure lasted 34 minutes. The Greater Manchester Police spokesperson later said: “Searches and security checks have been completed, and no suspicious items have so far been found.

“Passengers have now disembarked the aircraft with extra officers on hand to answer any questions and offer visible reassurance.

“No arrests have been made at this stage.”

Dur to the incident the return flight to Dubai, EK20, left two-and-a-half hours behind schedule – with some of the estimated 500 passengers on board expected to miss connections at the Emirates hub as a result.

An Emirates spokesperson said the incoming flight, EK19, “was subjected to additional security checks upon arrival”.

The statement continued: “Emirates crew and ground teams co-operated fully with the authorities. After the local authorities cleared the aircraft, it proceeded to the gate where passengers disembarked as normal.”

Last Thursday, 12 October, a Kenya Airways jet flying from Nairobi to London Heathrow was diverted to Stansted airport, escorted by RAF Typhoon fighter aircraft, after a bomb threat was made to the airline’s headquarters. Nothing suspicious was found.

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