UK plane alert: Pair in court on endangering aircraft charge

Pakistan International Airlines plane at Stansted Airport
Image caption RAF Typhoon jets were scrambled to escort the airliner to Stansted

Two men have been appeared in court accused of endangering an aircraft.

Tayyab Subhani, 30, and Mohammed Safdar, 41, both of Nelson in Lancashire, were detained at Stansted on Friday after a flight was diverted there.

They allegedly threatened that "crew and passengers would be killed and the aircraft blown up before landing which was false, misleading or deceptive".

Chelmsford Magistrates' Court remanded them in custody until 5 August.

Mr Subhani, a taxi driver, and Mr Safdar, a restaurant worker, spoke only to confirm their names and addresses.

Lawyers for the men said it was their intention to plead not guilty.

The pair were arrested on Friday at Stansted Airport after Pakistan International Airways flight PK709 from Lahore was diverted from Manchester.

They were travelling home after attending Mr Safdar's mother's funeral, the court heard.

The Boeing 777 plane, carrying 308 passengers, was shadowed into Stansted by an RAF Typhoon fighter jet after the pilot reported threats being made and landed at the Essex air hub.

Magistrate Sarah-Jane Davies refused an application to grant the men bail.

They will next appear at Chelmsford Crown Court for a plea and case management hearing.

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