Published Thursday, 14 March 2013
The chase followed and armed robbery in the Republic of Ireland on Thursday. (© Getty)
The airborne pursuit mission was launched after two men robbed a cash-in-transit van at Clare Hall Shopping Centre, around five miles from the airport.
Passenger jet pilots were instructed to go into a "holding pattern" - circling overhead outside the designated zone - and three had to be diverted to Shannon Airport to refuel, while police tracked the thieves as they fled through the city shortly after 10.30am.
A spokesperson from Dublin Airport said Garda had requested helicopter priority from air traffic control to facilitate the chase.
He added: "Ordinarily this wouldn't be an issue but it just happened to be in the exact location of the incoming flight path."
Garda officers rushed to the scene of the shopping centre holdup after receiving a tip-off about two men acting suspiciously on the N32 roadway linking the shops and the airport.
A security worker had been threatened at gunpoint before the pair fled with sum of money.
Police arrested two men aged 28 and 29 for questioning after a brief search, while the cash box, a firearm and a burnt-out car similar to the getaway vehicle were recovered.
A statement added: "In the course of the search the Garda Dog Unit, armed units and the Garda helicopter were utilised."
Hundreds of passengers were affected by the incident, including those on two Aer Lingus services heading to Dublin from London Gatwick and Brussels, while a Ryanair flight from Las Palmas was diverted to Shannon.
Meanwhile a further three flights from Heathrow, Paris and Dusseldorf were forced to remain in the skies for another 20 minutes before landing.