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Irish Govt questions UK Govt over bomb threat handling

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Irish Govt questions UK Govt over bomb threat handling

Old 9th May 2006, 23:42
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Irish Govt questions UK Govt over bomb threat handling

Irish Times report today:

Cullen tells UK of flight threats concern

Liam Reid, Political Reporter

Minister for Transport Martin Cullen has written to the secretary of state for transport in the UK to raise concerns about the handling by the British authorities of bomb threats on board two Irish aircraft last month.

In the letter, Mr Cullen said there was "understandable disquiet" among Irish airlines about the decision to have the two aircraft fly to Prestwick airport in Scotland, when there were airports closer by.

There was also concern about the delay in allowing passengers to disembark from both aircraft once they had landed, Mr Cullen said.

He also sought information from the British authorities on the "lessons learned" from the two events.

A major security incident was sparked in British airspace on April 18th when passengers on a Ryanair flight en route from Beauvais near Paris to Dublin discovered a note hidden in magazines and handed it to staff.

The note claimed there was a bomb on board.

After contacting British authorities, the aircraft was directed to land at Prestwick airport, accompanied by three RAF Tornado fighter jets.

When it landed, passengers were held on the plane for 30 minutes before being allowed to disembark.

A few days later a similar incident occurred on an Aer Arann aircraft en route from Luton to Galway.

In his letter two weeks ago to Alastair Darling, then secretary of state for transport, Mr Cullen said his department had received reports from Ryanair and Aer Arann.

"I know that Ryanair has been in touch with your department separately about the handling of the incident involving their aircraft and I understand that the police investigation into both incidents is ongoing."

He added: "Unfortunately, incidents such as this are likely to occur again in the future and accordingly airlines need to be aware of the nature of the contingency planning arrangements which the UK authorities may implement in response to a bomb threat to an aircraft in flight."

Offering assistance to the British authorities in relation to any issues arising out of the two incidents, he said he believed it would be "very useful in terms of our contingency planning if your department could share any lessons learned from the experience of handling the above incidents".
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Old 10th May 2006, 01:03
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Im not too sure what to think of this. Is it perhaps just a courtesy so as to be seen to be doing something in the eye of the airlines and passengers involved or is it a genuine show of upset with the British Authorities by the Irish?
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Old 10th May 2006, 07:22
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I don't see this as a goverment issue If the captain of the aircraft has reason to think that there is a bomb on the aircraft then he/she should order an evacuation.

If the authoritys won't provide steps then the slides must be used to ensure passenger safety.

My worry is that these things are in the hands of some goverment ministers who would not suffer if the worst did happen, in fact it could be usefull to have an event like this to hide some bad news. But this goverment would never stoop to that would they!

In these troubled times a captain has to have the political issues in mind after all how can the authoritys stop you evacuating an aircraft when they won't approach it? and what can they do when you have evacuated ? if they take you to court on some trumpped up charge they will make fools of themselfs when you ask the jury if they would like to be trapped in an aircraft with a bomb and 2000kg of fuel.
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Old 10th May 2006, 10:09
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I thought the diversion to Prestwick was because it, like Stansted, is a designated airport for bomb threats and hijacking?
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Old 10th May 2006, 10:37
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I would say the UK has a pretty good record at handling such incidents. I would certainly go to whichever airport the guy in the Tornado tells me to!
If the Irish government is unhappy with this perhaps they should require their airlines to go the long way around UK airspace - think what that would do to their costs/competiveness?
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Old 10th May 2006, 10:42
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If the Irish government is unhappy with this perhaps they should require their airlines to go the long way around UK airspace - think what that would do to their costs/competiveness?
What a totally stupid answer!

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Old 10th May 2006, 10:46
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Was there not an ej a/c which diverted to LPL a couple of years ago with a bomb threat? I'd always had the idea that, with a credible threat, and who's to assess that from the ground, you should get the a/c on the ground and pax off PDQ. OK, there are on-board inflight search procedures. But surely those are applicable only if there is time to carry them out? Remaining aloft so as to carry out such a search, and with nothing found continuing to a distant airfield, incurrs some risk. And who's at risk?
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Old 10th May 2006, 11:28
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EGBE0523 before you make any more mindless pronouncements such as
I would say the UK has a pretty good record at handling such incidents.
you might care to examine the existing information on these two events and then tell us if you think that the handling of both meets reasonable requirements for maintaining "a pretty good record". Your post, including your inane remark about "going the long way around" suggests that you posted without even knowing what is under discussion.
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Old 10th May 2006, 12:07
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I'd always had the idea that, with a credible threat, and who's to assess that from the ground....
Larger airlines have access to numerous sources from whom the credibility of a threat can be determined.
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Old 10th May 2006, 12:21
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Although ground agencies might make the risk assessment and can advise the Captain, ultimately, it's the Captain who makes, and takes responsibility for, the final decision.

Once a credible threat has been established, I agree with RAT 5, the a/c should be landed at the nearest suitable airport and pax disembarked without delay, by evacuation if necessary. Some airports are better equipped than others in this respect and this should be taken into consideration.

No-one can, or should, TELL the Captain what to do, just advise him/her - equally, the Captain should not be asking others what to do; just assessing any advice given, in order to come to a decision. Under these circumstances the close presence of Tornado's is just an unwanted and unhelpful distraction.

BS
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Old 10th May 2006, 12:22
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A and C
I don't see this as a goverment issue If the captain of the aircraft has reason to think that there is a bomb on the aircraft then he/she should order an evacuation.
As I read the original report - they would not let the pax off the a/c until they had the security staff to round them up onto a bus. Concern being that, if you pop the slides and everyone is milling on the tarmac, a suspect could run away. I am not saying that I agree with that but it is plausible

I sit to be corrected.
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Old 10th May 2006, 12:58
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Great, glad that's all sorted then - an Irish Government minister who couldn't find his arse with both hands demands answers from "British authorities" who clearly couldn't either, given the deafening silence having left 2 groups of crew and passengers sitting on bomb-threatened aircraft for hours.
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Old 10th May 2006, 13:21
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Angry PIC duties

Putting aside both government's statements , the PIC / Captain of the aircraft has certain duties and responsibilities under the ANO .
Perhaps both governments can now propose to change the fundamentals of the ANO .I think not .
I was faced with something similar on the ground at an Italian airport , no diversion was involved .The Italian authorities made all sorts of threats after an evacuation was made .
If you are the PIC / Captain , then your responsibility is to your passengers and crew . There can be no arguement on that . It would be a sorry day in aviation , when you hand over total control of safety of your aircraft to security services and / or politicians . That said , of course , you take on board all the info available to you .
Therefore I think it is a mute point , the respective airlines contacting government departments . it has nothing to do with them . If you feel an evacuation is necessary , then so be it .
No steps , no problems , blow the slides , and be very prepared to support your actions , again under the ANO .
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Old 10th May 2006, 13:39
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Originally Posted by PAXboy
A and C As I read the original report - they would not let the pax off the a/c until they had the security staff to round them up onto a bus. Concern being that, if you pop the slides and everyone is milling on the tarmac, a suspect could run away. I am not saying that I agree with that but it is plausible

I sit to be corrected.
You're probably correct, but if there was time to scramble 2 tonkas and escort the a/c to prestwick then there should have been ample time to get security in place. If not then one could argue that the airfield is not properly equiped to handle such incidents.
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Old 10th May 2006, 14:25
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Get Out ASAP

Precisely Green Granite,

The safety of the passengers is the first and most important issue.......whether the potential terrorist/hijacker escapes should only be thought of once the passengers are off the plane and safe on the ground.

Also, there would definitly be enough time (in almost all cases) to create a security cordon around the aircraft to make sure nobody pulls a legger!!!
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Old 10th May 2006, 15:24
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Had I been either a pilot or passenger (or CC) on the flight I would already have started legal action against the authorities for delibarately placing me in danger (ok, potential danger - but they couldnt have been certain). The authorities on the ground were failing to show any duty of care by not supplying steps. Do the police actually have the power to detain people without charge or caution? In Scotland you canbe held for 6 hours under section 14, this is basically to 'assist with enquireies', however you still have to be told why you're being held and you still have to be cautioned. Where any of the passengers and crew advised why they were being detained or where any of them cautioned - i doubt it.

Yet again the Scottish police show themselves up for the inadequate and inept force that they are.

I'd be really surprised if there's no legal action already started behind the scenes.


TFS
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Old 10th May 2006, 16:12
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I think we need to have a very, very clear picture of the reception committee that greeted the aircraft, before we say what the captain(s) should or shouldn't have done.
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Old 10th May 2006, 18:32
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Too Few Stripes

Police would only have to caution if asking questions. At the stage where pax are on an aircraft, and the police arn't, then as no questions are being asked, no caution is needed.

The point over sufficent security of pax before allowing disembrakation is well made, it may be unpaletable, but that is one reason for keeping pax an aircraft, if it means protecting more people, then thats the way it is.
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Old 10th May 2006, 19:04
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If a bomb threat is received concerning a building you don't lock everyone in the building - can you imagine the outcry? Yet again, when it comes to aviation, common sense goes right out of the window. How would you feel trapped, against your every wish, on an aircraft (on the gorund!!!) which is currently under a bomb scare? I can only imagine how angry those involved must be feeling.

The entire event, as far as I'm concerned, was dreadfully handled. There can be no excuse for what amounts to complete incompetence of the authorities. Someone must take accountability for making these dangerous decisions. It won't happen of course, look at the police assasinations on the london tube recently. Police screw up=no accountability.

TFS
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Old 10th May 2006, 19:09
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We can speculate on here all we like. The folks in possession of the facts are those in a position to make the decisions. If the IAA has issues with the CAA over the handling of these incidents then those will be discussed at that level and the necessary changes made to the relevant procedures. Until all the facts are in the public domain all we do here is expose ignorance and give further publicity to those individuals who get a kick out of scribbling notes in inflight magazines.
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