Two friends who allegedly threatened to blow up an aeroplane and kill its passengers and crew were today remanded to custody.

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Taxi driver and supermarket employee Tayyab Subhani, 30, and restaurant worker Mohammed Safdar, 41, appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court charged with endangering an aircraft.

The count alleges the defendants made false threats that the “crew and passengers would be killed and the aircraft blown up before landing which was false, misleading or deceptive”.

The defendants, who were both born in Burnley, Lancashire, spoke only to confirm their names and addresses but their lawyers said they would deny the charge.

The duo were arrested on Friday at Stansted Airport after Pakistan International Airways flight PK709 from Lahore was diverted from Manchester.

They were travelling home after attending Safdar’s mother’s funeral, the court heard.

The Boeing 777 plane, carrying 308 passengers, was shadowed into Stansted by an RAF Typhoon fighter jet after the pilot reported threats being made and landed at the Essex air hub at 2.20pm.

The magistrate Sarah-Jane Davies refused the defendants bail.

Safdar, a married father-of-three, of Hallam Crescent, and Subhani, of Townley Street, both Nelson, Lancs, will appear at Chelmsford Crown Court on August 5 for a plea and case management hearing.

Endangering an aircraft carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

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