Aviation Expert Praises Perfect Handling Of Qatar Airways Bomb Drama

Aviation Expert Praises Perfect Handling Of Qatar Airways Bomb Drama

An Aviation expert has praised Manchester Airport’s exemplary handling of the mid Flight bomb crisis but warned costs will run sky high.

The world watched aghast as Tuesday’s dramatic mid-air scenes unfolded before their eyes after a passenger allegedly handed the Pilot of thePassengers posted astonishing videos and images from inside the plane.

The Airport went into lockdown as the A330-300 carrying 269 passengers was escorted into land by Eurofighter Typhoon jets scrambled by the RAF.
The passenger who was arrested over a suspected bomb hoax has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

As Airport, Airline and MOD Officials review the incident they will also be counting the costs.

The drama meant many Aircrafts were put on hold circling overhead, while 10 Flights were diverted to nearby Airports Leeds, Liverpool and East Midlands, affecting around 2,000 passengers. Many will then have flown back into Manchester when the 25 minute lockdown ended.

Diversions and holds come with bills including landing and takeoff taxes charged to Airlines as well as staff wages on the ground and in the Air.

Fast jet Flyers like the Eurofighter Typhoon cost the Ministry of Defence, on average, £5,000 an HOUR during their lifetime but this incident is likely to have cost much more.

Chris Yates, an independent Aviation analyst based in Bolton, said Suffice to say, there would have been a substantial cost. Any time you divert a Flight there are attendant costs of additional fuel, landing fees and take off fees to shift the Aeroplane from where it shouldn’t be to where it should be. Much depends on whether passengers are left on the plane or not too.

But he praised both the Airport and Qatar Airways for their handling of the crisis.

He said Once the Pilot was handed the note he would ordinarily have notified Air Traffic Control and they would have taken all the necessary actions to launch the fighter aircraft and put the airport on standby.

Once the pilot had done that first bit his role really would have been just to fly the Aircraft as normal making sure the cockpit door was locked and so on.

He added There was a fairly high degree of criticism over the fact passengers and people waiting for them weren’t informed but I happen to think the whole thing was handled in exemplary fashion. You wouldn’t make an announcement on the plane because that would unnecessarily panic passengers and also once this bloke had handed his note over you didn’t know how unstable he might be. So to make various announcements in the passenger cabin to give him a clue he was about to be arrested might have triggered further action from him so obviously you don’t make a peep to passengers.

From an Airport perspective, you wouldn’t tell anyone because it could have turned nasty you don’t want to panic passengers about to board Flights.
I think they handled it perfectly.

If word had reached the RAF base at Coningsby that the Qatar Airways flight had been taken over, the Eurofighter Typhoon was fully equipped to take it from the skies as a final sanction.

Aviation security expert Chris Yates said Without a doubt with the rapid reaction alert, Aircraft are always fully armed and if there is a concern that the Aircraft has been taken by not very nice people obviously the Pilot would always try to land the plane. But the ultimate sanction is that the Aircraft could be shot down and that’s a decision taken primarily by the Prime Minister and only if all else fails and the Aircraft in question looks as though it might be threatening a 9/11 type episode where it was going to fly into buildings or major urban accommodation.”
Listening in to the drama were the plane enthusiasts on their radio scanners.

One said I was listening to all this unfolding on the radio down here in Southampton. They were initially sticking all the Flights routing over Central Southern England into a hold over the SAM VOR. One Thomson Pilot said why would I hold at SAM. I'm going to Manchester. The controller just said 2 words. Security alert Quite interesting watching the event unfold using ADSB and listening to it all at the same time. Glad it was just another hoax. The true cost of this event would run into the hundreds of thousands.”

Meanwhile, another enthusiast added I was parked up at the end of the second runway at Manchester airport today when this incident came through on my scanner, Could not believe what I was hearing, But thinking back after the event what really has stuck in my mind was the total calmness of all involved on the Airwaves during and after the event,

Qatar Airways Flight,
Airport’s exemplary handling of the mid Flight bomb crisis,
Air Traffic Control,
Eurofighter Typhoon jets scrambled by the RAF,
Chris Yates, an independent Aviation analyst,

Mohini Porwal [ B Sc]
Trainee Aviation  News Editor