Air India plane makes emergency landing in UK after hoax bomb threat

The plane was directed to an isolated stand at the London Stansted Airport. (File/AFP)
Updated 27 June 2019

Air India plane makes emergency landing in UK after hoax bomb threat

  • British Typhoon fighters escorted the Air India plane until it landed in Stansted
  • The airport’s runway has reopened and is fully operational

NEW DELHI/LONDON: An Air India passenger plane flying to the United States was escorted by British fighter jets to land in London on Thursday after what an official at the airline later said was a hoax bomb threat.
An Air India official said flight AI 191 from Mumbai to Newark had made a precautionary landing at London Stansted Airport after a hoax telephone call was made to Mumbai airport.
The official told Reuters there was no security threat.
Britain scrambled Typhoon fighters at supersonic speed to intercept the Boeing 777-337 and safely escorted it to Stansted, which briefly closed its runway.
The Air India plane was directed to an isolated stand with police in attendance.
“An Air India Boeing 777 diverted into London Stansted Airport at approximately 1015 and landed safely with Essex Police in attendance. It is parked on an isolated stand away from the normal airport operations,” the airport said.
“Our runway has now re-opened and is fully operational following a precautionary landing of Air India flight,” it said.
British police said officers were making inquiries.


Sri Lanka turns former military air base into third international airport

Updated 18 October 2019

Sri Lanka turns former military air base into third international airport

  • President Sirisena termed the opening of Palaly Airport for commercial flights “a significant landmark of the development program commenced after the conclusion of the conflict.”

COLOMBO: The Palaly Airport, a former military air base, has been turned into Jaffna International Airport, the third gateway to the island.

The new airport was inaugurated by the island’s President, Maithripala Sirisena, while Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Cabinet ministers also witnessed the ceremony.

The refurbished airport, costing $13.8 million, has a 1,400-meter long runway to facilitate ATR 72 aircraft, which can carry 70 passengers. It will later be expanded to 3,500 meters to handle large passenger aircraft such as the Airbus A320 and A321.

Located approximately 16 km north of Jaffna, Palaly was a Sri Lanka Air Force base and a domestic airport. The airport was built by the British Royal Air Force during the WWII.

After independence, Palaly Airport was used as the second international airport of the country for flights to southern India before the civil war began, almost 40 years ago.

President Sirisena termed the opening of Palaly Airport for commercial flights “a significant landmark of the development program commenced after the conclusion of the conflict.”

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said the upgraded Jaffna International Airport marked a “turning point” in Sri Lankan aviation, which would be “an asset for the entire nation.”

“The airport will deploy regional airliners and be elevated to an Asian travel destination,” the premier said.

“The airport, which is expected to accommodate direct flights between Sri Lanka and India, will contribute toward promoting the tourism industry in the north. This will play an important role in the economic growth and overall development of the country,” he added.  

The service will be made available first for Indian destinations, and later for flights to Australia, China, Japan, the Middle East and some European cities.                                                      

Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said Palaly airport was developed into Jaffna International Airport in a very short period of time.

“We were able to overcome the challenge successfully due to the sincere assistance we received from all institutes and stakeholders contributed to the development,” he said.

The minister said that in addition to Colombo and Jaffna international airports, three more airports in Sri Lanka will be upgraded to international airports, such as Ratmalana and Batticaloa.

“The opening of Jaffna airport for regional scheduled commercial passenger operations will undoubtedly enhance the quality of life of people in the area, with improved connectivity and accessibility that the airport brings to the region. It would also help reduce the current congestion at Bandaranaike International Airport and also eliminate the difficulties of the people in the north have in coming to Colombo Airport,” said H. M. C.Nimalsiri, director general of civil aviation.