EasyJet flight to Menorca escorted by Spanish military plane amid security concerns

·2-min read
The F-18 fighter plane seen to the right side of the easyJet Airbus (Twitter/IanDrLeslie)
The F-18 fighter plane seen to the right side of the easyJet Airbus (Twitter/IanDrLeslie)

Passengers on a standard easyJet flight from London Gatwick to Menorca were shocked to see a military aircraft zoom into view and fly alongside their plane amid security concerns.

The F-18 Hornet military jet can be seen flying close by the easyJet A319 plane en route to the Balearic island in video of the incident.

This type of fighter plane is more commonly seen in high-octane Hollywood films such as Top Gun, where the F-18 Super Hornet takes a central role.

Aviation photography enthusiast Ian Leslie tweeted shared a video of the jet on social media, tweeting: “G-EZAO intercepted by Spanish Air Force on way to Menorca. Passengers not being allowed to leave yet.”

He told followers his daughter was on the flight, adding, “Apparently the pilot had a Squawk (air traffic radar code) that was close to the emergency code.”

In the clip, the military jet dips its wings from side to side, which for intercepted planes can be code for “You have been intercepted. Follow me.”

This type of interception is usually employed when aircraft have lost contact with Air Traffic Control or there are concerns about the situation onboard.

Worried chatter can be heard from the easyJet passengers in the video, with one asking “Why’s he doing that?” and another wondering, “Is he just showing off?”

Meanwhile, the Twitter account Breaking Aviation News & Video alleged the issue was “a false bomb alert,” a claim that has not been reported or verified by easyJet.

The account reported that “passengers had to identify themselves and verify their luggage on arrival”.

An easyJet spokesperson confirmed the incident had happened on Sunday, saying it was “due to precautionary safety checks”.

A spokesperson said: “EasyJet can confirm flight EZY8303 from London Gatwick to Menorca was escorted by military aircraft while landing in Menorca and delayed disembarking due to precautionary security checks.

“The safety and security of its passengers and crew is always easyJet’s highest priority and we would like to thank passengers for their understanding.”

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