(Manila, Philippines) – A bomb scare brought operations at Bicol International Airport in the Philippines to a standstill on Monday, delaying over a dozen flights and stranding hundreds of passengers.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Philippines, a Cebu Pacific flight preparing to depart for Manila with 130 people on board was halted at 10:45 AM when crew requested a security check after finding a note reading “bomb” in an airplane lavatory.
The discovery prompted airport authorities to close the runway for inspection while the aircraft was moved to an isolated parking area and its passengers and luggage screened. Sniffer dogs and bomb disposal units participated in the search along with aviation police.
The single-runway airport’s closure impacted 10 Cebu Pacific flights bound for destinations around the country as well as one Philippine Airlines flight that was diverted back to Manila and another held on the ground.
After clearing the aircraft and inspecting passengers at 1:35 PM, the airport was given an all-clear to resume normal operations. Cebu Pacific said affected travelers were provided meals during the delay.
While such hoaxes often aim to cause disruption, they nonetheless show how a single written threat can tie an airport in knots, distressing travelers and disrupting schedules industry-wide. Aviation officials will be looking to learn from this incident.