US fighter jets escort Air France flight to New York after threat

NEW YORK - An Air France (AIRF.PA) flight from Paris was escorted by two US F-15 fighter jets to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Monday after an anonymous threat was made against the flight, the US military said.

Air France flight 22, traveling from Charles de Gaulle Airport, landed safely in New York, officials said.

The anonymous threat came in a telephone call to a Maryland State Police barracks on Monday morning, and the caller made a bomb threat involving commercial aviation, Maryland State Police said.

Two US Air Force F-15 jets were launched as a precaution to monitor the flight as it approached New York, said Navy Lieutenant Commander Richlyn Ivey, a spokeswoman for US North American Aerospace Defence Command and US Northern Command.

The plane was cleared in New York with no incidents or hazards reported by passengers or crew, said J. Peter Donald, an FBI spokesman.

The New York Post reported 165 passengers and 11 crew members on board the Air France Airbus A-330 though those figures could not be confirmed.

Air France could not be reached for comment.

Separately, New York's WNBC television reported that a threat had been made against a separate American Airlines (AAL.O) flight headed to JFK, but that threat was deemed not credible and the flight was cleared.

That report also said an Saudi Arabian Airlines flight was being checked out due to an unspecified threat, and that threats had been made against three other flights at Newark Liberty International Airport.

The FBI was not immediately available to comment on the WNBC report.

The US military spokeswoman said the command had not received information about additional threats against commercial airliners.

It was the first time US military aircraft had escorted a private airplane or commercial aircraft since Feb. 13, when two F-15s followed a general aviation aircraft that was out of contact while flying in a restricted area near San Francisco. The aircraft eventually re-established communications and was followed by the jets until it landed at Half Moon Bay.