Abdulla Ahmed Ali, a British-born extremist, planned to detonate home-made liquid bombs on board flights bound for major North American cities, Woolwich Crown Court in South London heard.
Ali, of Walthamstow, East London, was found guilty along with Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain of conspiracy to murder on a mass scale by detonating bombs on airliners following the largest-ever counter-terrorism operation in the UK.
Sarwar was jailed for life with a minimum of 36 years and Hussain told that he would have to spend at least 32 years in jail.
Mr Justice Henriques, the trial judge, said that the gang was guilty of "the most grave and wicked conspiracy ever proven within this jurisdiction".
"The intention was to perpetrate a terrorist outrage that would stand alongside the events of September 11, 2001 in history," he said.
He added that the plans had "reached an advanced stage in its development" and the men had "sufficient chemicals for 20 home-made detonators of commercial strength".
"I’m satisfied that there is every likelihood that this plot would have succeeded but for the intervention of the police and the security service."
Referring to a video of a mock explosion on board an airliner, Mr Justice Henriques said: "I could only conclude the chance of an aircraft surviving such an explosion at altitude was remote. Had this conspiracy not been interrupted, a massive loss of life would almost certainly have resulted - and if the detonation was over land, the number of victims would have been even greater still."
The judge said the e-mails at the centre of the retrial - which were unavailable to prosecutors in the first trial last year - were "a vital source of information as to the control, progress and scope of this conspiracy".
Source: Times Online