Birmingham airport suspends operations after plane security incident

<span>A number of arrivals at Birmingham airport had been delayed.</span><span>Photograph: Heritage Images/Getty Images</span>
A number of arrivals at Birmingham airport had been delayed.Photograph: Heritage Images/Getty Images

Birmingham airport temporarily suspended operations on Tuesday because of a security incident on an aircraft.

There had initially been reports of a suspicious item on a plane, but West Midlands police later confirmed that the item was not suspicious, and the airport reopened at 6pm.

A spokesperson for the airport said on Tuesday evening: “The aircraft landed safely and all passengers and crew have disembarked. All customers due to travel should make their way to the airport and check in as normal.”

A number of flights due to arrive at the airport were delayed, however, with the arrivals board showing flights from around 4.20pm being held up.

The package was found on an Aer Lingus flight, which took off for Belfast at 2.52pm.

A spokesperson for Aer Lingus told Sky News: “We can confirm that an undeclared item discovered on Aer Lingus Regional flight EI3647, operated by Emerald Airlines, from Birmingham to Belfast today was not a security risk.

“Our teams are currently working to accommodate impacted passengers.”

When the plane landed, its crew and ground staff were able to quickly evacuate all those on board from the craft, sources told the Guardian. Police and specialists attended and carried out a rapid assessment of whether the object posed any immediate danger.

A specialist police unit searched the plane, a spokesperson said, adding that the incident was a “false call with very good intent”. Birmingham airport urged people to check their flights before checking in due to potential delays.

The UK threat level from terrorism remains at “substantial”, meaning an attack is likely. Substantial is the third of five levels of threat.

Staff on planes – which are particularly vulnerable to terrorism – are encouraged to err on the side of caution and report anything suspicious.