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5 Airline Infamous Hoaxes that cost millions

September 09 2015

The recent news about the hoax calls by a Bengaluru techie had everyone flummoxed. However, aviation companies and travelers are not amused one bit. In fact, reports suggest that the five airlines and 1200 odd travelers lost close to $1million due to such misadventures.

However, this isn't the first time an anonymous phone call affected a company and the people involved. Here are the top five hoax calls and their impact on airlines and passengers alike:

1. Hoax Calling For Love

A 33-year-old man in France allegedly phoned in a bomb threat to the Bordeaux-Merignac regional airport so that his girlfriend would not miss her flight. Parts of the airport were immediately closed and the police searched the entire terminal. After a swift investigation, which found zero explosives, the caller was identified and arrested about 12 miles from the airport.

Hoax Calling For Love
Hoax Calling For Love

2. Bomb scare aboard Turkish Airlines

On March 30th 2015, a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul to Brazil was forced to land in Morocco when a note with the word "Bomb" was found by a passenger in the flight. Although the flight landed safely after issuing an emergency warning, all the 256 passengers on board were stranded at the terminal for more than three hours.

Bomb scare aboard Turkish Airlines
Bomb scare aboard Turkish Airlines

3. Hoax message results in emergency landing

A Turkish airlines flight bound for Tokyo returned to Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport after the cabin crew discovered a message "C-4 Cargo" (a type of plastic explosive) in the lavatory. After immediately notifying the pilot, they made an emergency landing. Police teams searched the entire cabin and cargo sections, however no explosives were found.

Hoax message results in emergency landing
Hoax message results in emergency landing

4. WestJet flights suffered Five Bomb Threats in a Week!

Disruption to five WestJet flights left passengers worried as the airlines dealt with halted operations and route diversions. Although nothing suspicious was found during any of the incidents, havoc ensued when airports shut down to inbound and outbound flights and six passengers suffered minor injuries during the evacuation process.

WestJet flights suffered Five Bomb Threats in a Week!
WestJet flights suffered Five Bomb Threats in a Week

5. Hoax calls halt four international flights at NYC

US military jets escorted an Air France flight into New York City after someone claimed that a chemical weapon was aboard the aircraft. At the same time, a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight, an American Airlines flight and a United Airlines flight were also being searched because of another threat. The State Police revealed that they received an anonymous call threatening commercial aviation but refused to divulge any further information.

Hoax calls halt four international flights at NYC
Hoax calls halt four international flights at NYC

The 9/11 Effect

US military jets escorted an Air France flight into New York City after someone claimed that a chemical weapon was aboard the aircraft. At the same time, a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight, an American Airlines flight and a United Airlines flight were also being searched because of another threat. The State Police revealed that they received an anonymous call threatening commercial aviation but refused to divulge any further information.

Besides the financial impact on airlines and emergency personnel, such hoaxes are also infringement of the law. According to Section 66A of the IT Act, communicating a false message for causing annoyance, inconvenience, or needless anxiety to others is liable for up to life imprisonment with a hefty fine.

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