Image Source : PTI Representational Image

Kochi: A London-bound Air India flight received a bomb threat on Tuesday but it turned out to be a hoax– the latest in a series of threats Indian airports have witnessed in the recent months. A 29-year-old man suspected of making the threatening call has been apprehended here by authorities, an official said. Security personnel conducted extensive checks on the aircraft and found no danger, allowing the flight to proceed as planned, a Cochin International Airport spokesperson said in a statement.

According to him, a bomb threat call was received by the Air India call Center in Mumbai early on Tuesday for flight AI 149, scheduled to fly from Cochin to London Gatwick. The alert was promptly communicated to Air India and the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) at 1.22 AM. Following established protocols, a Bomb Threat Assessment Committee (BTAC) was immediately convened at CIAL. The threat was assessed and declared specific.

Security Protocols 

Following this, thorough security checks were conducted by the Airport Security Group (ASG-CISF), airline security personnel, and inline baggage screening systems. In accordance with the recommendations from the Cochin Airport BTAC, the aircraft was moved to an isolated aircraft parking point, and comprehensive security measures were undertaken. The aircraft was thoroughly checked and subsequently cleared for flight.

Suhaib, accused caller, caught at airport 

The check-in process for AI 149 was completed by 10:30 am. The flight is expected to depart later. Efforts were made to identify the caller who reported the threat to the Mumbai call centre. Investigations revealed the call was made by Suhaib (29), a native of Kondotty in Malappuram district, who was scheduled to travel to London on the AI 149 flight. Suhaib, along with his wife and daughter, was intercepted by ASG at Cochin Airport’s international departure terminal during check-in. “He has since been handed over to the police for further questioning and legal action,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Earlier this month, bomb threat emails were received at forty-one airports across the country, according to PTI. Following extensive anti-sabotage inspections by security agencies that lasted several hours, each threat was determined to be a hoax. The emails, reportedly sent from the email address [email protected], arrived at the airports around 12:40 pm. In response, airports activated contingency plans, conducted thorough anti-sabotage checks, and swept the terminals based on recommendations from their respective Bomb Threat Assessment Committees.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: Chennai-Mumbai IndiGo flight gets bomb threat hours after 41 airports get similar emails