Passengers aboard a Monarch Airlines aircraft bound for Birmingham got the shock of their lives last week when they were greeted in mid-air by a fighter aeroplane. Caroline Regan was one of the people on board Flight ZB983 and she said the military jet was so near everybody could make out the features of the pilot’s face.
She carried on by saying lots of the Monarch passengers stood up for a better look and there was no small amount of panic at seeing another aircraft so close. She said quite a few of the passengers asked cabin staff what was going on yet the pilot made no official announcement about what had happened.
One crew member was heard speculating it was a French air force plane and another that it was making sure everything was okay. Monarch released an official statement late last week and stated that a French military aircraft had checked out Flight ZB983 on 12 October after air-traffic control operators very briefly lost contact with the flight crew while it was in the country’s airspace.
The statement noted that it was a normal procedure to scramble military interceptors in any instance of loss of contact. The statement added that air-traffic control had already managed to regain contact with the pilot before the military interceptor arrived on the scene.
It finished off by saying that ZB983 landed in Birmingham on time. It had also left Funchal Airport on Madeira on schedule. Mrs Regan said she and her husband Tony flew the Birmingham-Funchal several times every year and they had never witnessed anything similar.