An Aeroflot Boeing 777 was searched upon arrival at JFK yesterday following a bomb threat. The aircraft had originated in Moscow earlier that day, the search delaying the return flight’s departure.
Bomb threats on aircraft are, thankfully, very rare. Even rarer are bomb threats that turn out to be more than just a threat. However, given the severe nature of such incidents, airports have to deal with them appropriately. This can mean that aircraft are diverted to special airports designed to deal with such threats and are usually parked well away from the terminal when they land.
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The Aeroflot flight
Yesterday, Aeroflot flight SU102 was involved in a bomb threat. According to data from FlightRadar24.com, the aircraft landed on runway 31R at 15:48. A four-year-old 777-300ER registered as VQ-BIL appears to have remained at the end of the runway. While the threat was dealt with, JFK airport tweeted about the incident, warning people that emergency personnel would be seen around the airport.
Due to an ongoing incident, emergency personnel and activity may be observed at #JFK airport. Please note that the airport is fully open and flights are operating without delays.
— Kennedy Airport. Wear a Face Covering. (@JFKairport) December 6, 2020
Sputnik reports that passengers were deplaned from the aircraft, which was then swept by the port authority police department. At 18:28, almost three hours after arrival, the aircraft taxied to a remote area of JFK airport.
When no threat was found to exist onboard the aircraft, it was moved to Terminal 1, where passengers could board for its return flight. The return flight to Russia, SU103, was due to depart New York at 18:20. However, due to the incident, it didn’t leave JFK until 00:49, over six hours late. At around 22:00, the airport reported that the incident had ended.
Following an earlier incident at #JFK, all emergency activity has concluded and emergency personnel have departed the scene. *JC
— Kennedy Airport. Wear a Face Covering. (@JFKairport) December 7, 2020
On the incident, an Aeroflot spokesperson told Simple Flying,
“On approach to John F. Kennedy Airport Commander of flight SU102 Moscow – New York received information of alleged threat of explosive device on board. Following safe landing at JFK the aircraft was throughly searched. The initial information was not confirmed. The departure of flight SU103 to Moscow was delayed due to inspection operations.”
Not the first bomb threat of the year
While many airlines have had to deal with canceled flights and grounded fleets, it hasn’t meant that 2020 has been a year without bomb threats, with Ryanair flights alone having seen three such incidents.
In May, Anchorage Airport in Alaska was temporarily closed by a bomb threat causing the world’s largest aircraft to divert. Then, in July, Ryanair dealt with two bomb threats onboard its aircraft in the space of one week. A Dublin-bound flight was diverted to London Stansted, with the second incident occurring in Oslo. This was followed by a third Ryanair incident with a Lauda A320 landing at London Stansted in late August. In August, and again in New York, a United Airlines Boeing 787 was evacuated in New York, this time in Newark.
What do you make of the incident? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!