TWO passengers were marched off a plane on the runway at Southend Airport after a fight broke out on board.

Police were called to the airport after reports of a dispute between two passengers on an easyJet flight.

Officers drove on to the runway and boarded, to find two men, from Hornchurch, shouting and throwing insults.

Officials in the airport’s control tower had received a worried call from cabin crew and immediately called the police.

The incident happened on Thursday at 4.45pm. The airline was unable to confirm reports the plane was about to take off on a flight to Spain, but a spokesman said no flights had been delayed by the incident.

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said the two men were escorted off the plane and given £80 fixed penalty notices for their abusive behaviour.

An airport source, who did not want to be named, said: “I heard the police were called because passengers were fighting. The plane, which I think was going to Malaga, was ready to take off and was just waiting to get clearance.”

The Civil Aviation Authority, the regulatory body for the aviation industry, has extensive guidelines in place for cabin crew to deal with disruptive passengers if they are drunk, caught smoking or acting in a disruptive manner on board a flight.

These include having the passenger taken off the plane under police escort, and prosecuting in the most severe cases.