Report: Emirates Flight To Newark Forced To Turn Back, U.S. Believed Terrorist On Board

Emirates doesn’t just operate flights from Dubai. It flies two routes between the U.S. and Europe, Newark – Athens and New York JFK – Milan.

Today’s flight from Athens to Newark was 90 minutes into its flight when it held over Sardinia. The Boeing 777 then took an overwater route back to Athens, reportedly unable to gain clearance to fly over France or Italy. As the aircraft entered Greek airspace, their Air Force scrambled jets to intercept and escort it down.

#ek209 Emirates Flight EK209 suspect remains seated and not allowed to leave the plane

— Fragolevantinos (@fragolevantinos) November 10, 2022

#ek209 Emirates Flight EK209

— Fragolevantinos (@fragolevantinos) November 10, 2022

Media in Greece say that the U.S. had reason to believe a terrorist was on board the aircraft. They specifically cite CIA information as the reason for the demand that the aircraft turn around, although it’s not clear why they would know this.

Once on the ground, passengers who originated in Athens were allowed off the aircraft, while those who had originated in Dubai and connected in Athens were required to stay on board. Normally all passengers would be kept together, out of fear that the target would be misidentified if some were allowed to leave.

The U.S. government would have cleared the plane’s manifest and all passengers enroute to to Newark prior to the aircraft taking off. So either there was a mistake made along the way, or confusion about the identity of a passenger who may have been on board (or whether it was indeed the person of concern). Often decisions are made ‘out of an abundance of caution’ though this one seemed a bit more cautious than usual, keeping the aircraft over water rather than land. It’ll be interesting to see whether we ever get the real story.

(HT: One Mile at a Time)

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