US fighter jets escort commercial flight following threat

US fighter jets escort Air France flight to New York’s John F Kennedy Airport following anonymous threat received by Maryland police

Photo by: US Air Force (USAF)
Photo by: US Air Force (USAF)

Updated Jul 28, 2015

An Air France flight traveling from Paris to New York was escorted to JFK Airport Monday morning by fighter jets after an anonymous threat was received by US authorities.

An anonymous call was received by Maryland state police shortly after 6:30 AM (10:30 GMT) regarding flight AF022 from Charles de Gaulle Airport in France, said police spokesman Greg Shipley.

The FBI was then notified immediately about a “chemical weapons threat” aboard the plane and two US F-15 fighter jets accompanied the commercial Airbus A-330 plane until it landed safely in New York.

US officials could not immediately reach Air France representatives as Monday was a holiday both in the US and in France, and so deployed fighter jets as a safety precaution.

The jets were not visible to the passengers and the crew, breaking off at 10,000 feet in order not to interfere with commercial traffic, ABC News reported.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Air France flight number 22 was escorted to John F Kennedy airport by US Air Force fighter jets following a phone threat,” said FBI spokesman J Peter Donald.

“The plane has landed and deboarded. There were no incidents or hazards reported on board the flight by either the passengers or its crew. The plane has been cleared.”

In addition to Air France flight 22, several other flights on Monday were impacted by threats in New York, New Jersey and Boston, according to airline and law enforcement officials speaking to ABC News.

The officials said that a Saudi Airlines flight arriving into JFK from Saudi Arabia was also escorted into a remote area of the airport where it was cleared. Passengers were then brought back to the terminal.

An American Airlines flight from Birmingham, UK to JFK was initially told to taxi to a remote area. Once the threat was determined not to be credible, the pilot was instructed to take the plane to the terminal.

At Newark Airport in New Jersey, two incoming flights - one a Delta Air Lines from London, and the other a United Airlines flight from Madrid - were affected.

Authorities announced that a threat made against a Delta Air flight from Paris to Boston’s Logan Airport also turned out to be a false alarm.

TRTWorld and agencies