Bomb threats force emergency landing of Air India aircraft in London
In a recent update by Air India, it has informed that one of its aircraft, a Boeing 777-337 was forced to land at the London Stansted airport after a bomb threat was reported. The affected flight, AI 191 was flying from Mumbai to Newark Airport, USA when it had to make an emergency precautionary landing in the United Kingdom. On its final approach to the airport, the plane was escorted by British air force fighter planes. The aircraft has now been parked in an isolated stand away from the main operations and checks are being performed to ascertain the veracity of the threats.
Why this incident holds significance?
All 3 countries, the US, UK and India have suffered greatly from terrorism in the past. However past incidents have made these countries increase their air surveillance measures.
In India, airport security of all major airports is handled by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) which is a Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).
In the United States, Airport security is handled by the Transport Security Administration (TSA).
Most airports now have modern X-ray machines that can better detect liquid explosives and other dangerous equipment.
In event of a scare like a hijack, hostage or bomb threat, the aircraft is diverted to the nearest airport under fighter escort and national security agencies carry out detailed tests before clearing the aircraft for further operation.
Lessons from the Past
In 1982, an Air India Flight 182 was destroyed by a bomb placed on board by the Sikh Separatists (Khalistanis). The flight which was flying from Toronto to Delhi via London was carrying 329 people. No one survived the explosion. This death toll of Air India Flight 182 is the largest mass killing ever in Canadian history, and it remained the deadliest act of aviation terrorism until the September 11 attacks in 2001 which struck the US.
The most recent aircraft bombing incident
A Russian aircraft Metrojet 9268 was destroyed by an explosive bomb when flying from Egypt to Russia killing 224 people on 31st October 2015. The bombing was a retaliation for Russian Airstrikes on Islamic State (IS) positions in Syria.
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