A written threat made at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) prompted the evacuation of nearly 100 passengers aboard an inbound Southwest Airlines Boeing 737. Flight number WN2104 departed Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) at 11:00 Monday morning for the 4hr 10min flight to Baltimore.
Upon arrival, the plane taxied to a remote area of the airport and waited for local authorities to arrive, as is Southwest Airlines policy when dealing with this kind of incident. After assessing the threat’s nature, 95 passengers and six crew members were taken to the main terminal by bus.
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We don’t know what was on the note
When answering a Fox News request for more information, a Southwest Airlines spokesperson said:
“Earlier this evening, the Crew onboard flight 2104 identified a written threat upon arrival into Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Our Crew followed protocol by notifying the appropriate authorities and moving the aircraft to a remote location while awaiting further instruction.
“The authorities promptly arrived and boarded the aircraft, safely transferring the 95 passengers and six Crewmembers to the airport terminal via buses.”
An update on Southwest Airlines flight 2104. pic.twitter.com/wRamJA12IA
— BWI Marshall Airport (@BWI_Airport) January 12, 2021
“We fully cooperated with authorities as they took extra precautionary measures to secure and thoroughly review the aircraft,” Southwest’s spokeswoman wrote. “We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience; the safety of our employees and customers always remains our utmost priority.”
There are warnings of more violence
The incident follows on from the recent riots in the US capitol last week and President Trump’s ban from being able to message his supporters on Twitter. Following the D.C. riots in which Trump supporters stormed the Capital Building, several social media platforms have warned of the possibility of more violence.
“Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the U.S. Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021,” according to Twitter’s statement. They also say that there is talk from multiple Trump supporters calling for Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20 to be disrupted.
With this in mind and following on from the mayhem that many Trump supporters caused when flying home from Washington after the riots, airline employee unions call for security to be ramped up. Unfortunately, with so little time left until Inauguration Day, it is unlikely that many of the people involved in last week’s riots can be prevented from getting on a flight to Washington D.C.
When speaking to Forbes about what airlines could do, Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), said that airlines could look at their passenger manifests of people who flew in and out of the DC area before and after the riots.
“While the airlines cannot coordinate on competitive issues, they certainly can coordinate on safety issues,” Nelson said.
Airlines should share names of passengers, especially those who were flagged for unruly behavior or worse. “An airline could say ‘we have banned this person because of XYZ’ and that could actually become an individual ban on each airline,” she said.
Airlines could also coordinate a temporary cross-industry no-fly list targeted for a specific time period or specific airports.
“Typically, this would not be something that the airlines would do themselves, but this is not a typical time,” she said. “That could certainly be done in coordination with the FBI and TSA. The FBI can certainly say, ‘These people are a flight risk.’”
BWI is not far from Washington D.C.
While the focus has been on foreign terrorists following 9/11, more recently, the Department of Homeland Security has pointed to domestic terrorism as being the most prominent threat. In its annual report published three months ago, it said that violent white supremacy was the “most persistent and lethal threat in the homeland.”
It is bad enough that we have to worry about COVID-19 when flying, and now we have people leaving threatening notes. Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) is only a 53-minute drive down I-95 to Washington D.C. It would not surprise me to discover if the note wasn’t related to the recent political events.
Do you think that the note may be related to the riots in Washington? Please tell us what you think in the comments.