A man who was arrested after a passenger flight was escorted to Stansted Airport by RAF Coningsby fighter jets has been charged with fraud, Scotland Yard said.
The Pakistan International Airlines plane, on its way from Lahore to Heathrow, was diverted after an anonymous phone call sparked a major security alert on Tuesday afternoon.
Police said Khalid Baqa, of Priory Road, Barking, east London, was due to be arrested on arrival at Heathrow but was instead detained at Stansted.
The 52-year-old, a UK national, has been charged with committing fraud by false representation and has been bailed to appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court in London on February 23. It is not believed he had any involvement in the cause of the diversion.
The plane was accompanied by Typhoons to the Essex airport, with photos posted on Twitter showing several fire engines and a number of ambulances waiting on the ground.
An airline spokesman said UK authorities had “received some vague security threat through an anonymous phone call”. Passenger Naz Amin said the flight landed “in the middle of nowhere” and was quickly surrounded by police.
“I realised it was surrounded by police and the police came on the plane about 45 minutes to an hour later and they took a gentleman off the plane,” he told LBC Radio. “He wasn’t being disruptive at all, he was just sitting down… there was no-one being disruptive on the plane.”
Essex Police said the incident is “not believed to be a hijack situation or terror matter”.
Stansted is a designated airport for dealing with hijacks and major security alerts. Incidents are dealt with in a remote part of the airfield to the north west of the terminal building.