Student admits making hoax easyJet bomb call

A student admitted making a hoax phone call claiming there was a bomb on a flight from Gatwick, a court heard.

Muhammet Demir called police and said he had seen a bomb on an easyJet aircraft that was due to fly to Turkey on September 9.

The flight, destined for Izmir, was taxiing on the runway with 170 passengers on board when it was recalled and met by armed police.

Police officers, Gatwick and airline staff, traced the call to 20-year-old Demir who had been due to board the flight.

The call was established as a hoax but it delayed the flight by three hours.

Demir, of no fixed abode, was arrested as he tried to board a flight at Luton airport.

The Turkish national admitted the crime but has refused to say why he made the call.

Demir pleaded guilty to communicating a false message to cause a bomb hoax at Brighton magistrates court on Saturday.

He was remanded in custody and is due to appear before a crown court for sentencing on a date to be set, the Brighton Argus reported.

Detective Inspector Andy Richardson said: “Fortunately we were able to quickly identify that this was a hoax call but it still caused considerable worry for airport and airline staff and passengers.

“Anyone considering making malicious calls of this nature should think long and hard about the consequences.

“We investigate fully all claims and threats like this and will not rest until we find those responsible.

“Making hoax calls not only wastes the time and money of members of the public and the emergency services but also delays us from responding to genuine emergencies.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Ukraine missile evidence ‘not shared with airlines’

Ukraine missile evidence 'not shared with airlines'Carriers would have avoided flying over Ukraine long before Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed, if information about missiles in the area had been passed on, the boss of Emirates has suggested.

Sir Tim Clark told the BBC there had been evidence of weapons for weeks. But he claimed those in the know didn’t share it with most of the carriers flying across the country.

If the airlines had all been told, he suggests, the industry would probably have by-passed the danger zone. And he added that some carriers did appear to know because they were avoiding the area, but they didn’t share the information.

It is widely believed that a missile downed flight MH17 on July 17, killing all 298 people on board.

Aircraft had been cleared to fly in the area as long as they stayed above a certain height, and a report last week highlighted the fact that three other large passenger jets were in the same area at roughly the same time as the Malaysian flight.

Sir Tim said: “There was evidence that these missiles had been on site, in situ for a number of weeks beforehand.

“Emirates did not know of that fact, and I don’t think many others did. Had we known that, we would probably have reacted in a manner that would have seen a complete avoidance of Ukrainian airspace, probably as an industry.

“We have a concern that information was known by certain stakeholders… and should have been passed… at least to the industry, to the organisations that regulate the industry.

“We understand now that certain carriers were aware of that and had already taken avoidance action.”

British Airways was among several airlines that had been avoiding Ukraine for weeks. But in a recent BBC interview, Willie Walsh, chief executive of parent company International Airlines Group, said that decision was based on information that was publicly available at the time.

Sir Tim is called for an information “clearing house” to be set up, that can warn all airlines if there are any new threats in an area.

Sir Tim also said a “Yes” vote for Scottish independence would heighten the need for a new runway in the south of England. Although he made clear that he didn’t want to get involved in the politics of the decision, he told the BBC:

“Clearly, if they do become independent they will develop their own civil aviation strategies, they will probably develop Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. But therefore there is more impetus required for the remaining parts of the UK to develop their aviation strategy, to fill a gap.”

Like so many others in the business world, the Emirates’ president says that doing nothing is not an option, be it expansion at Heathrow, Gatwick, or even at London mayor Boris Johnson’s preferred location in the Thames Estuary.

After four decades in the business Sir Tim says he’s seen airport expansion plans come and go, but there really does seem to be an urgency to do something this time,

Sir Tim made the point that the UK also needs to grow all of its regional airports, including Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Cardiff, which he described as having great potential.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Investigators publish report into Virgin jumbo turbulence incident

Investigators publish report into Virgin jumbo turbulence incidentNine passengers and a cabin crew member were injured when a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 hit “severe turbulence”, according to an official accident report.

The Gatwick-bound aircraft with 400 passengers ran into turbulence after the pilots’ study of weather radar returns had led them to alter course to avoid bad weather on their intended route.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch report published today said: “The aircraft started to encounter turbulence and the flight crew switched the cabin seat belt signs on.

“The commander recalled seeing a flash outside, which he thought may have been lightning associated with a thunderstorm cell beneath the aircraft. Suddenly, the turbulence increased markedly and became severe for a while.”

The injured crew member and two of the injured passengers had to be treated in hospital after the aircraft landed safely at Gatwick.

One of the passengers suffered a knee injury and the cabin crew member, who was in the crew rest area at the time, had head and neck injuries.

Most passengers were already seated with their seatbelts fastened and all those who suffered injury were in the rear, right side of the aircraft.

At one point the turbulence was so severe that a member of the cabin crew had difficulty securing herself in her harness.

The incident happened in the early hours of November 14 last year when the aircraft, flying from Montego Bay in Jamaica, was around 300 miles south of St John’s in Newfoundland.

“The flight crew had left the intended track to avoid significant weather which they had detected on weather radar. However, at the time of the incident, there was no significant weather indicated on radar,” the AAIB report said.

*In another incident reported by the AAIB, a cabin crew member was thrown off her feet and was seriously injured when a Flybe Dash 8 suddenly hit severe turbulence on a flight from Birmingham to Belfast City airport.

The crew member was given medical assistance by a doctor who happened to be on board and was transferred to hospital after the aircraft landed in Belfast.

One of the 71 passengers on board suffered a minor injury in the incident over the Isle of Man on the morning of February 7 this year.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


MH17 broke up in mid-air after being hit by ‘numerous objects’

MH17 broke up in mid-air after being hit by 'numerous objects'There was “no evidence of technical or human error” in the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, according to a report by the Dutch Safety Board.

The report says the aircraft broke up in mid-air after being hit by “numerous objects” that “pierced the plane at high speed”.

All 298 people on board died when the Boeing 777 came down in eastern Ukraine, amid reports it was shot down by pro-Russian rebels. The aircraft was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed on July 17.

Dutch aviation investigators relied on information from the black box flight data recorders, air traffic control, satellite images and photos from the scene to compile the preliminary report.

They said the 777 “broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-speed objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.”

The cockpit voice recorder revealed no signs of any technical faults or an emergency situation.

The report does not attribute blame or liability for the crash but a separate criminal investigation is being conducted by prosecutors in The Hague, the BBC reported.

The board expects its final report to be published within a year.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Airlines count cost of Luton airport closure

Airlines count cost of Luton airport closureAirlines have been left counting the cost of the enforced closure of Luton airport yesterday after a ‘suspect package’ was discovered.

A controlled explosion was carried out at 5.15pm after an estimated 2,000 people were ordered to evacuate the terminal following the discovery in the security search area at about 2pm.

More than 50 flights were cancelled and 13 were diverted to other airports. Full services did not resume until 10pm.

“We are working hard throughout the night and into tomorrow morning [Tuesday] when we expect operations to return to normal,” the airport said.

Police said the item was destroyed and “although deemed suspicious, did not present a wider danger”.

EasyJet, which diverted six flights to Stansted, Birmingham and Southend, cancelled the rest of its flights to and from Luton for the day. Services were due to return to normal this morning.

The airline said it had cancelled 41 flights as a result of the disruption.

The airport had said: “We understand passengers will be frustrated by the delays they are experiencing.

“We are working closely with the police to ensure passengers are not inconvenienced unnecessarily but we must ensure that the safety and security of all our passengers and staff remains our top priority.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Investigation starts into Jet2 emergency landing

Investigation starts into Jet2 emergency landingAn investigation has been started after passengers described how they forced open an aircraft door and jumped from the wing following an emergency landing.

Jet2.com said the flight from Ibiza, which landed at East Midlands airport on Wednesday, had a “minor electrical fault”.

A passenger on the Boeing 737, which can carry 150 passengers, said there was a “strong … burning smell”.

Another man said cabin crew lost control on the ground, which led to panic and people trying to escape, the BBC reported.

The Air Accidents Investigation Bureau said it sent a team “to investigate a serious incident to a commercial airliner that occurred at East Midlands Airport”, on Wednesday evening.

An airport spokesman said three other flights were diverted to Birmingham and full safety procedures were followed.

Passenger Kyle Charles told the BBC: “We circled above the airport and tried but failed to land. We landed on the second attempt. When we landed it turned into sheer carnage.”

He said one member of the cabin crew kept screaming over and over: “Get off the plane everybody now.”

The crew opened the main doors at the back and front of the aircraft, where the inflatable chutes drop down, but not the ones over the wings.

A friend forced one of the doors open, ran to the end of the wing and jumped down on to the tarmac. He then helped other passengers who were running along the wings down on to the runway.

A Jet2.com spokesman said: “Following a safe arrival at East Midlands airport of flight LS644 we decided to disembark passengers as quickly as possible as a precautionary safety measure because a minor electrical problem led to some smoke in the cabin.

“All passengers were looked after by our airport team and a full investigation is now under way. The safety of our passengers is of paramount importance.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Smoke in cockpit forces easyJet emergency landing

Smoke in cockpit forces easyJet emergency landingAn easyJet aircfraft with 157 passengers made an emergency landing at Gatwick this morning after smoke was detected in the cockpit.

The Airbus A320 was flying from Liverpool to Naples when it diverted and landed at about 7.20am.

An airline spokesman said the aircraft, which had left Liverpool at 6.40am, landed safely and passengers “remained calm”.

“At no point was the safety of passengers threatened,” he told the BBC.

“We now want to make sure we get the passengers to Naples as quickly as possible.

“Meanwhile, the plane is being inspected.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


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