DUBAI—Dubai-based Emirates Airline said Tuesday that flight EK202 bound for Dubai was called back before taking off from New York and that three passengers were removed from the aircraft as part of an investigation into a failed bomb attempt in Times Square.
"Full security procedures were activated including the deplaning of all passengers and a thorough screening of the aircraft, passengers, and baggage," an Emirates spokesperson told Zawya Dow Jones. "Emirates is cooperating with the local authorities."
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier Tuesday that a suspect in the attempted Times Square bomb attempt in New York was arrested trying to board a plane for Dubai. U.S. officials identified the man as Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan. Shahzad was detained at 11:45 p.m. Monday night at John F. Kennedy Airport as he was preparing to fly.
The Emirates flight was delayed by around seven hours and is expected to take off at 2 p.m. Dubai time, the Emirates spokesperson said.
Officials on Monday said early indications didn't necessarily mean Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups were involved in the plot to rig an SUV to explode in one of the busiest neighborhoods in the nation.
Dubai International Airport is a major transit hub for passengers flying on to South East Asia. It isn't clear whether Dubai was the final destination of the passenger arrested in New York.
Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmtallab, who is suspected of attempting a Christmas Day suicide attack on a U.S. bound plane, studied in Dubai.