AirAsia in Bengaluru airport receives fake bomb threat, sparks security alert in Kolkata
The Bengaluru Airport office of low cost airline AIrAsia received a threat call on Sunday warning of possible danger to its flight I5-588 travelling between Bagdogra in north Bengal to Kolkata. The caller warned that he “would not be responsible” if anyone was hurt on board that flight.
However, in the end it was proved to be a hoax and all the passengers and crew deboarded the flight safely, and there was no damage to the aircraft.
The call prompted the Kolkata airport to declare an emergency for over an hour on Sunday, an official said. Emergency was declared at the airport around 6.05 pm, said a statement issued by the Kolkata airport. The emergency was called off at 7.25 pm.
The airline said by the time the threat call came, the flight had already departed from Bagdogra for Kolkata. The travel time between Bagdogra and Kolkata is one hour. AirAsia India operations officials coordinated with Kolkata ATC to affect an immediate landing at Kolkata. After landing, the aircraft was secured with the assistance of airport security staff and all protocols followed.
Reports said that following the threat, Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad and fire tenders were rushed to the isolation bay, however a probe revealed that the threat call was a hoax.
“AirAsia India is cooperating with all agencies to ensure the security of its passengers. The airline is also facilitating security agencies to establish the whereabouts and investigation of the call. Delays caused due to this are regretted, but we would like to reiterate that we prioritise safety and security of our guests and crew at all times,” the airline said.
“There were 187 passengers on board, including the crew members. All security checks have been carried out as per the procedure. All the passengers disembarked safely,” the statement added.
Authorities are yet to establish the identity of the caller.
In August, 2018 police in Bengaluru had arrested one MBA graduate who made similar threat calls to the Bengaluru Airport thrice in the same week. The same man was accused of threatening security breach at the Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna (KSR) railway station in the city.