LONDON – First Air Serbia, now Azur Air: When it comes to Russian involvement, commercial airline bomb threats are becoming more frequent.
The Azur Air Incidents…
Azur Air has had two bomb threats in the last two weeks, with the reasoning for these threats unknown but could possibly be related to Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, which we will come to later.
As per Simple Flying, ZF2401 departed Moscow Vnukovo International Airport at 1300 local time on January 9-10, inbound for Goa, India.
Before it could reach Goa, the bomb threat was communicated to the pilots onboard the aircraft, resulting in a diversion to Jamnagar Airport, controlled by the Indian Air Force.
The aircraft was then allowed to leave Jamnagar and continued onwards to Goa.
As for the second incident, the Azur Air Boeing 757 was involved in another bomb threat whilst operating ZF2463 between Perm and Goa.
ZF2463 didn’t get as far as the other flight, with the bomb threat received much earlier, resulting in a diversion to Termez Airport in Uzbekistan.
All passengers were deplaned from the Azur Air aircraft before being given the all-clear and continuing on to Goa once again.
Similar Pattern from the Air Serbia Bomb Threats?
Round about this time last year, Air Serbia began receiving bomb threats on its Belgrade-Moscow services.
Serbia had been criticized for not denouncing the Russian government’s invasion of the Ukraine Crisis and continued to operate such flights.
The first incident occurred on March 11, 2022, where around 30 minutes after departure from Belgrade, the Air Serbia aircraft was forced to turn around and head back.
Upon arrival, JU652 was searched for such credibility of the threat and departed again to Moscow around seven hours later, offering significant disruption to passengers.
On March 14, 2022, this happened again for Air Serbia, but then a turn back to the capital over the Hungarian-Slovakian border, with One Mile At A Time mentioning it operated a “90+ minute flight to nowhere”.
The aircraft was searched once again, and the flight had a six-hour delay upon departure back to Moscow.
Another incident occurred the next day, with the bomb threat being reported before the aircraft departed from Belgrade, with that flight suffering a three-hour delay, causing considerable disruption to Air Serbia.
The final one happened on March 17, 2022, when the flight had another delay similar to that on March 15.
It remains clear that as long as the Ukraine Crisis continues, such bomb threats against airlines that operate in and out of Russia will continue to experience this.
From the perspective of safety, this is a worrying concern, as calling in such bomb threats is extreme enough. But one day, it could turn out to be an actual bomb on board.
All eyes will be on carriers operating into Russia and out of the country to ensure that the relevant safety practices are tightened amid this recent wave of bomb threats.