Dozens of planes have been diverted or delayed after an “unplanned” request by the RAF to halt arrivals at Heathrow.
A spokesman for the west London airport said the request for airspace closure began at around 9am and lasted for approximately 20 minutes.
At least four Heathrow-bound British Airways flights and one Virgin Atlantic aircraft were forced to land at other airports such as Gatwick, Stansted and Luton.
Several other flights were delayed for up to an hour as aircraft were kept in stacks around London while waiting for permission to land.
A Heathrow spokesman said: “Arrivals were paused briefly this morning due to an RAF request for an operational flight within part of Heathrow’s airspace. Arrivals are now operating as normal.”
An RAF spokesman said: “The RAF can confirm that a flight was completed this morning by one of our assets from RAF Northolt.
“This flight was coordinated with Heathrow ATC but had to extend by a few minutes to complete its sortie. The minor delays caused to civilian air traffic are regretted.”
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