A passenger on a Mumbai-Delhi flight was arrested on bomb threat charges at Mumbai airport. The passenger claims that he called to inquire about the status of the BOM-DEL flight and was misheard by the operator.

Mumbai bomb threat charges

Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay has the airport code of BOM. The operator that received the call claims that the passenger said “Bomb hai” (there is a bomb) and hung up immediately after, raising suspicion. The passenger was scheduled to fly BOM-DEL, connecting to Rome en route to Virginia. Police allege that the passenger (of Indian origin, CEO of a US firm) was frustrated with the flight delays on BOM-DEL segment and made the call to disrupt Delhi flight schedules, hoping that he would not miss his connection to Rome. The passenger was caught on CCTV camera using a phone booth at the airport to call the airport toll free number.

The passenger’s lawyer argues that his client called to inquire about the BOM-DEL flight status but hung up due to disturbance in line. His client was arrested on bomb threat charges and later released on bail.

My Take

Unfortunately, this is not the first time a passenger has resorted to a bomb threat to disrupt flight schedules, in hopes of not missing a connection. That the passenger chose to use a phone booth at the airport, called the airport toll free number to inquire about the flight status, is odd to say the least. I would imagine that someone at the airport would find it a lot easier to walk up to the airline desk or contact several airport staff in the terminal to inquire about flight status. Hoax/bomb threats are serious issues and a major burden on airport authorities and resources. Not to mention, of great inconvenience to the passengers. Related media coverage (and my source) of the incident are here and here.

It would be hard to prove one way or another – Whats your take on this incident?