Scoot flight bound for Perth circles back to Singapore after bomb threat
A Perth-bound Scoot flight returned to Singapore following a bomb threat on Thursday. It landed at Changi Airport at 6.27pm.
In response to queries, a spokesman for the budget airline said the plane departed at 4.11pm and a decision was made to turn back about one hour into the flight “due to a bomb threat”.
“The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) was activated to escort the aircraft back to Changi Airport. Emergency services were also activated,” he said.
“TR16 landed safely in Singapore at 6.27pm where security checks were carried out.”
He added: “Scoot is assisting the authorities with their investigations. As this is a security matter, we regret that we are unable to provide further details.
“Scoot sincerely apologises for the disruption and inconvenience caused. The safety of our customers and crew is our top priority, and we will continue to provide assistance to our customers.”
The police said they were informed of an alleged bomb threat on the flight at about 4.55pm, and investigations are ongoing.
“The police take security threats seriously and will not hesitate to take action against those who intentionally cause public alarm,” a spokesman said.
RSAF said in a Facebook post that it activated two F-15SG fighter jets to escort the Scoot aircraft.
Flight TR16 has 363 passengers and nine cabin crew, as well as two pilots on board.
Its flight path on flight tracking website Flightradar24 showed the Boeing 787 Dreamliner flying in circles off the east coast of Malaysia before flying towards Changi Airport.
The flight, which had left from Terminal 1, was scheduled to arrive in Perth at 8.35pm.
However, an account called SquawkAlert on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, said it had made a 7700 squawk, referring to when a flight experiences an emergency.
At 7.40pm, passengers were still on board the plane.
A 30-year-old systems analyst, who did not want to be named, told The Straits Times that passengers were informed at about 5.05pm that the aircraft was experiencing “minor issues”.
When the fighter jets arrived to escort the flight, he added that people were “passing phones to those seated by the windows to take photos”, adding that he did not sense much alarm among those on board.
He did not witness any passengers behaving suspiciously but noted that police had come on board to escort two individuals out of the plane after it landed.
The pilot then announced the bomb threat, although he said he believed it to be most likely a hoax, with the security checks being part of the regulations.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said a runway was closed at Changi Airport at 6.26pm to facilitate ground operations, and was reopened at 7.25pm.
Eight arrivals and six departure flights were delayed, including that of National Development Minister Desmond Lee, who was flying back from Kuala Lumpur.
He apologised to his residents in a Facebook post for being late for his meet-the-people session due to the delay.
He told ST that his flight had taken off later than scheduled and was then put in a holding pattern, with the delay about two hours in total.
On Sept 28, 2022, Singapore Airlines flight SQ33 had to be escorted by two RSAF fighter jets before it landed at Changi Airport.
A 37-year-old American man was arrested after he allegedly made a bomb threat on board the flight from San Francisco. The man, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia after his arrest, was subsequently given a stern warning for the bomb threat and four weeks’ jail for slapping an air steward.