CHENNAI: A Chennai-bound Jet Airways flight from New Delhi was diverted back to Nagpur Airport and grounded there, after a bomb threat that turned out to be a hoax was received while the aircraft was flying toward Chennai.
Chennai Airport director Deepak Shastri said an alert that five passengers were carrying bombs, was received from the Bureau of Civil Aviation, 90 minutes ahead of the flight’s scheduled arrival in Chennai at 5.50 pm.
“Immediately, a meeting was called and I did not want to risk the lives of about 170 plus passengers who were to land in Chennai. My concern was the passengers’ safety,” said the former defence officer.
“I still had 90 minutes. The nearest airport was Nagpur. I informed the pilot about the bomb threat and asked him to divert the aircraft to Nagpur,” said Shastri who took the decision to send the aircraft back, while in mid-air to Nagpur airport.
“I did not want to take chances,” Shastri said. The flight was taken to isolation bay in Nagpur where it underwent checks.
“It is part of the drill. The whole process takes three hours. All baggage undergoes checks,” he said.
Chennai airport bans visitors
In the backdrop of the Brussels attack, a special security warning was issued to the Chennai airport and visitors’ entry has been banned for two days, starting Tuesday. The security alert will be reviewed on Wednesday evening and if the threat persists it will be extended further.
Two Flights cancelled
A Mumbai-bound flight from Chennai, linked to Brussels, scheduled to fly at 8.30 pm, has been cancelled. Similarly, the flight from Brussels via Mumbai (at 10.20 am Europe Standard Time) which was to reach Chennai at 4.30 am has been cancelled, according to Jet Airways officials.