Monday, 23 November 2015

Bomb threat causes 2-hour wait to leave SIA plane at Changi Airport

By Linette Lai, The Straits Times, 23 Nov 2015

Passengers in a Singapore Airlines (SIA) plane had to wait about two hours to disembark at Changi Airport yesterday due to a bomb threat.

Flight SQ001 had arrived in Singapore from San Francisco, via Hong Kong, at its scheduled time around noon yesterday.

However, The Straits Times understands that the aircraft was moved to a relatively secluded part of the airport, and that passengers were not allowed to disembark until around 2pm.

UPDATE: A bomb threat made against Singapore Airlines flight SQ1 caused the delay in disembarkation on Sunday. TWITTER/@JEANNIEONG_LIM
Posted by The Straits Times on Sunday, November 22, 2015

Even then, they descended from staircases onto the tarmac, instead of using the airbridge connected to the airport terminal.

Several passengers on the aircraft tweeted pictures of police vehicles and security officials surrounding the plane.

Baggage was delayed for additional security screening, with the first bags arriving in the claim area more than three hours after the plane had landed.

The airline, in a statement, did not give any information on how the threat came to light.

It said: "Singapore Airlines confirms that there was a bomb threat concerning SQ001, (on) Nov 22, which was referred to the authorities.

"We regret that we are unable to provide details as it concerns security."

The police said in a statement that nothing suspicious was found on the plane or its passengers after security checks were carried out.

"The police take a very stern view against anyone who attempts to cause public alarm or fear by spreading hoaxes or false information.

"The police are investigating into the source of the bomb threat."

Yesterday, a Turkish Airlines flight travelling from New York to Istanbul was diverted to Halifax in Canada after a similar threat was made against it.

Tweeting from an account that has since been suspended, a Twitter user alleged that bombs were on board both the Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines flights.

The tweet concerning the SIA plane was made around two hours before the flight landed.

It is not known if action was taken because of the tweet.

Changi Airport Group's Chairman, Mr Liew Mun Leong was on board SQ001 yesterday when it was delayed by additional...
Posted by Changi Airport on Sunday, November 22, 2015

Bomb scare: Changi Airport chairman was on Singapore Airlines plane
He had no idea anything was wrong until plane landed; the scare later turned out to be a hoax
By Karamjit Kaur, Aviation Correspondent, The Straits Times 24 Nov 2015

Changi Airport Group (CAG) chairman Liew Mun Leong, who was on a Singapore Airlines flight which received a bomb threat, had no idea anything was wrong until after the plane landed at Changi Airport.

The scare later turned out to be a hoax.

Flight SQ001 from San Francisco, via Hong Kong, had arrived as planned at about noon on Sunday.

"After landing, I suddenly saw through the window that our aircraft was strangely taxiing away from Terminal 3 and towards the cargo area. It then stopped and was held up at the cargo apron for a long while," Mr Liew said in an e-mail to staff, with whom he shared his experience.

"'What in the world is happening?' I murmured to myself. The captain announced that there was some problem at the gate but it should be cleared soon. There was no explanation from the control tower."

Changi Airport Group's chairman Liew Mun Leong was on Singapore Airlines flight SQ001 on Sunday when a bomb threat was...
Posted by The Straits Times on Monday, November 23, 2015

Mr Liew then rang an airport colleague to find out what was going on. "His rather calm response was shocking and terrifying. Someone had made a threat that there was a bomb on board SQ001!... I was asked by a fellow passenger what was happening. I didn't tell her what I knew as this might have unnecessarily alarmed her. 'Just extra security', I said."

Another 20 minutes passed before the captain said there were some security problems which had to be cleared by the police before anyone could be allowed to disembark, he wrote.

After about an hour of waiting inside the aircraft, the captain announced that arrangements were being made for passengers to be taken by bus to Terminal 3.

Mr Liew said: "I thought the captain and crew handled the situation very well, such that all passengers remained calm even as the potential seriousness of the situation dawned on them."

At the terminal, passengers were "thoroughly" screened before they were allowed to leave. It took more than three hours after the plane landed for the check-in baggage to be released.

The same day, a Turkish Airlines flight travelling from New York to Istanbul was diverted to Halifax in Canada after a similar threat was made against it.

Mr Liew had initially planned to return to Singapore a day later but changed his flight to attend the funeral of a former colleague and mentor, Mr Somkiat Lertpanyavit.

Mr Somkiat, who had spent almost 43 years working as a master planner and designer for the development of Changi Airport, died at the age of 71 last Friday.

Despite the bomb scare delay, Mr Liew managed to see his friend one last time.

He said: "Someone from Singapore Casket called to hurry me as they had to close and seal the coffin by 2pm. I pleaded for a few minutes' grace. I arrived at 2.03pm and managed to bid farewell to Somkiat."

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