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UK Royal Air Force Fighter Jets Escort SAS Airbus A320neo to Manchester Airport

UK Royal Air Force Fighter Jets Escort SAS Airbus A320neo to Manchester Airport

BY HADI AHMAD February 06, 2024 0 COMMENTS

A Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) Connect Airbus A320neo was recently escorted by the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force fighter jets following a loss of communication. The flight landed safely at its destination airport in Manchester.


The aircraft that was escorted, with registration EI-SIU | Photo: Flickr


Military Jets Scrambled


SK 4609 is a regularly scheduled flight between Oslo's Gardermoen Airport (OSL) in Norway and Manchester Airport (MAN) in the United Kingdom. The flight is operated by Scandinavian Airlines' Irish subsidiary, SAS Connect. On February 5, SK 4609 flew as usual until losing radio contact over the North Sea. As a result, the pilots could no longer communicate with air traffic controllers.




However, the flight never squawked 7600 to indicate a loss of communication. The RAF scrambled two Typhoon fighter jets from RAF Coningsby to intercept the SAS flight. The Typhoons met the A320neo over the North Sea and escorted the aircraft to Manchester, where it landed safely. An SAS spokesperson noted that the incident did not pose any danger to the passengers onboard.


Photo: William Pierre | AeroXplorer


The aircraft, EI-SIU, was a 1.4-year-old SAS Connect A320neo. After arriving in Manchester, the plane returned to Oslo without further issues other than a slight delay.




Why Were Typhoons Dispatched?


The RAF typically scrambles fighter jets to intercept aircraft if there is a loss of communication or a confirmed threat onboard. The fighter pilots scrambled to reestablish contact with the flight and ensure passenger and crew safety. Afterward, they remained with the flight and escorted it to its destination.


Photo: Daniel Mena | AeroXplorer


RAF Typhoons can also be scrambled if a confirmed or suspected threat is reported onboard a flight. There have been multiple instances of RAF Typhoons assisting UK-bound flights. In October, a Kenya Airways flight to London Heathrow was intercepted and diverted to Stansted Airport due to a potential security threat. Another example involves Pakistan International Airlines (PIA): in 2013, a PIA flight to Manchester was also diverted to Stansted following a bomb threat made onboard.


In both cases, RAF Typhoons had been scrambled to intercept and escort these aircraft to Stansted. The Typhoons are part of the RAF's "Quick Reaction Alert" (QRA) squad that has stations at RAF Coningsby and RAF Lossiemouth.



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Hadi Ahmad
Lifelong aviation enthusiast raised in Central Illinois. 777 is the best plane BTW.

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