An Airbus A319 operated by Spanish low-cost carrier Volotea had to make an emergency landing on November 19th due to a false bomb threat. Flying from Bilbao to A Coruña, sources report that the aircraft landed at its destination and was taken to a remote stand where passengers were disembarked.
Emergency landing close to the destination
According to the airline’s own post on Twitter (embedded below), a bomb threat was made to flight V7 3538- a service between Bilbao (BIO) and A Coruña (LCG). Flight tracking data indicates that the aircraft involved was an Airbus A319 registered EC-MTD.
FlightRadar24.com indicates that this service usually departs Bilbao at around 06:45 local time. The typical arrival time at A Coruña for this 276 mile (444 kilometre) flight is 07:50. On November 19th, however, this flight departed one minute ahead of schedule and landed 25 minutes earlier than scheduled, touching down at about 07:25. Thus, we can attribute the early arrival time at its regular destination to the bomb threat, which would have expedited the aircraft’s decent towards A Coruña.
Volotea informa de que el vuelo V7 3538 que cubre la ruta BIO-LCG ha aterrizado de emergencia a las 7.25h. hora local en el aeropuerto de A Coruña (LCG) de emergencia por amenaza de bomba a bordo.
— Volotea (@volotea) November 19, 2021
Threat called in to emergency line
Meanwhile, Aviation24.be reports that the threat was sent through Spain’s 112 Emergency line (the equivalent of the Canadian/American “911”), which then transferred it internally to both airports.
The destination airport, upon being notified of the threat, activated emergency procedures, directing the A319 towards a remote stand. Guardia Civil (Civil Guard) agents conducted a search of the cabin and the aircraft’s cargo hold and found no evidence of explosives onboard. At or after 10:00, at least two and a half hours after landing, Guardia Civil declared the inspection over and concluded that the call was a “false alarm.”
Aviation24.be also notes that the 105 passengers and six crew members onboard disembarked normally at A Coruña airport following the emergency procedures.
About the aircraft involved
At 17 years of age, the A319 registered EC-MTD has had a long history of service- although with just two carriers The aircraft had its first flight in 2004 and initially flew for Frontier Airlines registered as N935FR. Leased from GECAS, Frontier withdrew the aircraft from service in 2017, returning it to GECAS.
From 2017 onwards, the A319 has been operated by Volotea– first re-registered as EI-GAU before being re-registered again to its current letters several months later in the same year.
Powered by two CFM56 engines, the aircraft has a single-class high-density layout with an all-economy 156-seat configuration.
As of July 2021, the aircraft, which remains under GECAS ownership, had racked up 51,484 flight hours across 27,009 flight cycles. Collateral Verifications LLC estimates that the aircraft has a current market value of about $7.93 million.
What do you think of this incident? What would prompt someone to call in a false bomb threat on this service? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment.