- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- Singapore Changi Airport
- Year Founded:
- Star Alliance
- Goh Choon Phong
A Singapore Airlines flight from San Francisco International (SFO) to the city state’s Changi Airport (SIN) was the subject of a bomb threat this morning, which resulted in an escort by local fighter jets. Despite this, it landed safely, and the local military eventually determined the threat to have been a hoax.
According to Channel News Asia, most of Singapore Airlines flight SQ33’s journey from San Francisco passed uneventfully. Indeed, after leaving the Californian city at 22:05 local time on Monday evening, the bomb threat situation didn’t arise for more than 12 hours. Indeed, it was 02:40 (Singapore time) this morning when the police were first alerted to the developing circumstances.
It became clear at this time that a disruptive passenger, a 37-year-old male, is said to have assaulted a flight attendant. Furthermore, he also claimed that his hand luggage contained a bomb, after which the crew restrained him.
Despite the threat, the flight continued towards its destination, beginning its descent just under two hours later. However, as seen in the map below, it did circle several times on approach to Singapore. Its arrival into the city-state took place under the escort of two F-16C/D fighter jets from the Republic of Singapore Air Force. It touched down safely at 05:51 local time, just six minutes behind schedule.
While the flight landed almost on time, the drama wasn’t quite over. Image: FlightRadar24.com
Better safe than sorry
However, despite the safe and timely landing, the situation would continue to unfold for several hours. This is because, as Channel News Asia notes, the aircraft had to taxi to a remote stand for security checks due to the threat. These checks, undertaken by the Singapore Army, found it to have been false, resulting in the man’s arrest. He was also suspected of having consumed drugs.
Following the conclusion of these procedures, the plane was eventually able to make its way to Changi’s Terminal 3 with the help of an airport tug. According to CNN, Singapore Airlines confirmed that “all passengers and crew have disembarked normally at 09:20 (Singapore Time).” The Star Alliance carrier also added:
“The safety of our customers and staff is always our top priority. We are assisting the authorities with their investigations and regret that we are unable to provide further details.”
The flight and aircraft involved
Singapore Airlines flight SQ33 is one of two daily flights that the carrier operates between San Francisco and Singapore. Its only competition on this corridor comes from United Airlines, which operates flight UA1 on this route on a daily basis. SQ33’s scheduled departure time is 22:05, with its arrival into San Francisco being 05:45 (+2), giving a scheduled duration of 16 hours and 40 minutes.
FlightRadar24.com shows that the aircraft operating Singapore Airlines flight SQ33 at the time of the bomb threat was an Airbus A350-900 registered as 9V-SMW. According to data from ch-aviation.com, this twin-engine widebody is one of 54 standard A350-900s in Singapore Airlines’ fleet. It is 3.17 years old, and seats 253 passengers (187 economy, 24 premium economy, 42 business class).
What do you make of this incident? Have you ever been onboard a flight that has been escorted by military aircraft? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.
Sources: Channel News Asia, ch-aviation.com, CNN, FlightRadar24.com