Two Air France flights, Flight 55, from Washington to Paris, and Flight 65, from Los Angeles to Paris, were diverted on Tuesday after the airline received telephone bomb threats. The threats were received by Air France shortly after the flights took off from Washington and Los Angeles, reports the CBC.
The threats were not said to have any major impact on other flights in North America or internationally.
Those traveling on Flight 55 were told that the flight was being diverted due to “technical reasons.” With the Paris attacks occurring so recently, many of the passengers reportedly suspected that something more ominous may have been transpiring. Despite this, the Air France passengers were described as having remained “calm” by the CBC.
“I found it very hard to imagine I was actually in a plane that was going to blow up,” Irene Rodgers, a passenger aboard Flight 55 stated. “So I couldn’t get my head around that one.”
Travelers were accommodated by the airlines during the delays. Those in Halifax were said to be transported by bus from the airport, which was reported to have taken just over an hour. Passengers from Flight 65 are said to be back in France, while passengers from Flight 55 were expected to leave Halifax at 3:45 a.m. today, after being originally scheduled to leave at 7 p.m. last night.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police searched Flight 55, a Boeing 777, its passengers, and their luggage thoroughly in Halifax using dogs trained in explosives detection; nothing out of the ordinary was found. All of the passengers were interviewed by the RCMP after first being taken to a “secure area” of the Halifax airport.
The FBI issued a release stating that nothing was found aboard the Airbus A-380 used for flight 65 that was deemed a threat either, according to Reuters.
Flight 55 was said to carry 262 passengers and Flight 65, 497 passengers and airline staff. The airline reported that both flights had been the subject of “anonymous” bomb threats made by telephone.
“As a precautionary measure and to conduct all necessary security checks, Air France, applying the safety regulations in force, decided to request the landings of both aircraft,” an Air France official said in a statement.
“We are always very vigilant here with our security program. We take direction from our partners, whether it be the RCMP or CSIS, for example, whether we up our security,” Ashley Gallant with the airport was quoted. “If they notify us to increase our security measures, we will.”
On October 31, a chartered Russian Airbus A321-200 Metrojet airliner was brought down by an ISIS bomb, reportedly claimed to be made with a soda can by the terror group, killing all 224 people aboard, according to the Independent. The improvised explosive device (IED) was said to have the force of 1.5 kilograms of TNT.
Shares of Air France (Paris: AF) traded as low as €6.30, down from €6.79, following the attacks when trading in Paris reopened on Monday. Shares of Air France traded up €0.15 or 2.3 percent in trading on Thursday.
[Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)