A Nairobi to Heathrow flight was intercepted by RAF fighters and diverted to Stansted Airport over a “potential security threat”.
A London Stansted spokeswoman said the Kenya Airways Boeing 787 “landed safely with Essex Police in attendance”.
“The aircraft was escorted to a remote parking stand with normal flight operations now continuing,” she said.
The plane was diverted to Stansted just before 15:45 BST but Essex Police said the incident had now been “stood down”.
Officers said inquiries established there was nothing of concern and they handed the plane back to the airport.
A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said: “RAF Typhoon fighter aircraft from RAF Coningsby were launched as a precaution this afternoon to investigate a civilian aircraft which was approaching the UK.
“The civilian aircraft remained in contact with air traffic controllers throughout, and was escorted to Stansted Airport where it landed safely. This incident is now under the control of the civilian authorities.”
Essex Police said: “A flight travelling from Nairobi to Heathrow was diverted to Stansted this afternoon. The airport remains open.”
‘Thorough risk assessment’
An airline spokesman said “Kenya Airways plc (KQ) confirms that on Thursday 12 October 2023, at around 10:30 BST, its headquarters received an alert of a potential security threat on board KQ100 operating from Nairobi to London Heathrow.
“KQ management in conjunction with the security authorities of the Government of Kenya and the United Kingdom carried out a thorough risk assessment of the threat.
“The crew on board were briefed, and all safety and security precautions were taken to ensure the safety and security of our crew and passengers on board.”
llan Kilavuka, CEO of Kenya Airways, said: “There was suspicion of some of the people on board. But nothing to do with a bomb or anything like that.
“The precautions that we were taking was because that threat had been raised and so we just wanted to make sure that there was nothing untoward.”
Essex Police confirmed that Stansted was the designated airport for dealing with security risks in the UK.
Neither the MoD nor Essex Police could confirm if passengers remained on board.