Britain scrambles fighter jets to escort diverted Pakistani passenger plane

LONDON (REUTERS/AFP) - Britain launched fighter jets on Friday to escort a Pakistan International Airlines plane carrying 297 passengers from Lahore after it was diverted from Manchester, a spokesman for the Defence Ministry said.

“Typhoon aircraft from RAF Coningsby have been launched to investigate an incident involving an aircraft in UK airspace,” a ministry spokesman said told AFP.

Flight PK709 from the city of Lahore in Pakistan was due to land at Manchester Airport in north west England at 1230 GMT.

The plane was diverted to Stansted airport, east of central London, according to a Manchester Airport spokesman.

Essex Police, who are responsible for the area where Stansted is located, said an incident had occurred on a flight and they were investigating.

The news comes two days after a soldier was hacked to death on a London street in an incident the government are treating as a terrorist incident.

However, early indications are that the diverted Pakistani plane is not the subject of a terrorist attack, said Reuters, quoting an unnamed British security source.