A hoax bomb threat uttered by a drunken British passenger led to the evacuation of an Emirates Airline flight between Manchester and Dubai yesterday morning. "We can confirm there was an incident involving a passenger aboard EK20 from Manchester on Wednesday after it had landed safely in Dubai," Emirates Airline said in a statement. "The captain immediately alerted the Department of Civil Aviation who took charge of the situation. The passenger is now in police custody."
The trouble started about 7am, when the passenger argued with a stewardess. In the heat of the moment, the man, who had been drinking, told the stewardess a bomb had been hidden on the aeroplane, officials from Emirates Airline said. The stewardess reported the threat to the pilot, who radioed the information back to the airport control tower, which alerted police. Passengers were evacuated and the aircraft was searched. No bomb was found and the man was taken into police custody for questioning.
"The safety of the aircraft was at no time compromised; however, Emirates takes such incidents very seriously and will not tolerate disruptive passengers on board our aircraft," the spokesman said. "The comfort, safety and security of all our passengers is paramount." Airline officials said incidents involving intoxicated passengers were uncommon. "Something like this is really quite rare, which is why such a big deal is caused," the spokesman said.
Andrew Jones, a spokesman for the Abu Dhabi Airports Company, confirmed that the number of problematic or drunken passengers was very small, and incidents rarely caused major turmoil. "Normally, it's dealt with by the airline, with the support of police, if necessary," he said. "When it does happen, normally people are told to sober up and put on the next flight." @Email:email@example.com