Passengers on board a JET2 holiday jet flying from Spain to Birmingham said it was shadowed by a French fighter plane for some 15 minutes.
Jet2 operations say they are awaiting clarification from French aviation why Flight LS1204 was apparently physically tracked and escorted over French air space by the French air force on Friday afternoon.
We understand that French air traffic control have according to security sources placed JET2 flights passing through French air space on their special interest flight watch following the appearance of the airline on the BBC TV Panorama 'Drunks on a plane' episode and the airing of covert video taken on board flights.
An official confided said: We take the view that if unruly and drunken behaviour is likely to happen on holiday flights, we have identified, we need to be in a position to ensure the safety of our citizens on the ground, and will not hesitate to send up French fighter escort jets, if foreign pilots ( ie Jet2 and others ) are at all late or delayed in responding by radio or squawking data identity details when requested by French Air Traffic Control.
Julian Bray Aviation expert comments: It could be that the Jet2 pilot did not or could not (possibly for technical reasons) react quickly enough to a request for information, in that case local air traffic controllers will immediately send up a military escort to make visual eye contact with the pilot, and to assist or in extreme cases intercept, and escort to the nearest security cleared airport or landing strip.
The fact that passengers say the fighter jets were alongside the Jet2 aircraft for 15 minutes indicates that some technical issue might be at the root of this engagement.
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