A commercial passenger jet that was also carrying cargo from Yemen was escorted from the Canadian border to New York City by two military fighter jets, U.S. officials said. The officials said there was no known threat associated with the plane, but it was escorted to John F. Kennedy International Airport as a precaution.
The plane landed shortly after 3:30 p.m. Passengers walked off the plane on two covered stairways and then onto the tarmac, dragging their luggage behind them. Several police cars surrounded the airliner.
Authorities on Friday were investigating whether suspicious packages shipped aboard cargo planes from Yemen to the U.S. were part of a terrorist plot.
FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said the plane – Emirates Airlines Flight 201 – was met at JFK by FBI and Port Authority police. He said the action was being taken solely because the plane, which took off from Dubai, was also carrying cargo from Yemen.
John Cornelia, a spokesman for U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command, said the airliner was escorted by a Canadian fighter to the U.S. border, where two U.S. fighters took over. U.S. fighter jets routinely escort airliners when there may be a problem in order to observe the aircraft and be prepared to take any action if necessary.
The plane that landed, the Boeing 777, also called the “Triple Seven,” is a long-range, wide-bodied airliner that typically can seat about 300 passengers.
Earlier Friday, cargo jets in Philadelphia and Newark, N.J., were searched for possible suspicious packages from Yemen. No explosives were found.