British police arrested a man suspected of making a hoax bomb threat aboard a Qatar Airways plane that caused it to be escorted down by a military fighter jet.

A Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon guided the plane to Manchester airport in northwest England.

The plane was travelling from Doha with 282 people on board.

Witnesses on board said armed police entered the aircraft and escorted the suspect off with his hands on his head.

"A 47-year-old man from the northwest (of England) has been arrested on suspicion of making a bomb hoax and remains in police custody for questioning," said Chief Superintendent John O'Hare of Greater Manchester Police.

"A full search of the aircraft has now finished and nothing suspicious was found.

"The incident arose when the pilot received information about a possible device on board the plane, having been handed a note from a passenger."

Several emergency response vehicles could be seen parked around the plane.

Passenger Aurang Zeb, 60, said: "I saw all the police with guns. Lots of police everywhere.

"Kids were crying, some people looked very worried because of rumours there's a bomb on the plane."

Qatar Airways said there were 269 passengers and 13 crew aboard the Airbus A330-300 plane.

"The crew had received a threat about a possible device on board and Qatar Airways immediately took all the necessary precautions to alert British authorities," the airline said.

"The crew is now fully assisting police at the airport with their inquiries."

Manchester Airport said nine incoming flights had been diverted to other destinations.

The airport soon resumed business as usual.

One of the flights that landed on time at Manchester once the emergency was over was the plane carrying Manchester United back from Florida where the team has been engaged in a pre-season friendly tournament.