A series of threats was made against flights en route to airports in New York and New Jersey on Monday, and fighter jets scrambled to escort one of the planes in, sources said Monday.
Air France Flight 22, from Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, was escorted to Kennedy Airport after a threat was made claiming possible chemical weapons were on board the plane, the source said.
U.S. officials sent fighter jets to meet the plane because Air France did not immediately respond to U.S. government requests for information, but the threat is not believed to be credible, WBAC-TV reported.The flight was scheduled to land at Kennedy at 10:18 a.m.
Authorities unloaded all the cargo from the plane and were in the process of unloading passengers Monday afternoon, the source said. Passengers will have to go through customs and speak with investigators after getting off the plane, the source said.
Air France tweeted about the incident from its official handle @AFnewsroom, saying: “We confirm #AirFrance flight #AF022 #CDG #JFK landed safely at JFK where passengers disembarked normally. Aircraft inspection ongoing.”
Calls made to Air France by the Daily News were not immediately returned.
Sources said that threats also were made against a Saudi Airlines plane and American Airlines Flight 131, from Birmingham Airport in England, which was scheduled to land at Kennedy at 11:57 a.m.
Chrispine Sibande, who was at Kennedy watching the searches unfold, tweeted that emergency vehicles focused their attention on the Saudi Airlines aircraft after inspecting the Air France flight.
“At first Emergency Vehicles surrounded Air France plane. Now they are at Saudi Airlines Plane,” Sibande tweeted from his handle @CGSibande.
“Emergency vehicles have surrounded the Saudi airlines plane,” he continued.
Threats were coming in against flights scheduled to land at Newark International Airport as well, the source said.
It was not immediately clear if any of the other threats made were credible.
Though threats made against aircrafts are not uncommon, multiple threats made consecutively are “pretty unusual,” the source said.
“We don’t know if it’s some nut in a room making calls or if it’s an organized effort to upset air travel today,” the source said.
“But the JFK Squad is pretty good at locking up these people who are making the threats. If they are not professionals, (the people making the threats) can be tracked down through a number of methods,” the source said.