LONDON – Over the weekend, Singapore Airlines Flight 37 transmitted a hijack squawk code of 7500, which turned out to be a false alarm.
According to data from RadarBox.com, SQ37 was a routine flight between Los Angeles and Singapore, operated by 9V-SJB, one of Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A350-900ULR aircraft.
Reports stated that the 7500 transponder code was sent out shortly after departure from Los Angeles, although this turned out to be a false alarm, as confirmed by an airline spokesperson to the Daily Mail.
“Singapore Airlines is in contact with the pilots on board SQ37, operated on an Airbus A350-900, which departed Los Angeles International Airport on 10 June 2022 at around 2355hrs local time”.
“The pilots have confirmed that there is no emergency on board. The flight is en route to Singapore, and is scheduled to arrive on 12 June 2022 at around 0750hrs local time”.
SQ37 landed safely around 25 minutes ahead of schedule, with no issues or concerns.
What is a 7500 Squawk Code?
As set out by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), there are three emergency-based squawk codes that pilots transmit if there is any danger to themselves or other aircraft. They are:
- 7500 – Hijacking.
- 7600 – Radio failure/loss of communications.
- 7700 – General emergency.
The 7500 squawk code is the one that typically gives controllers the most concern, as well as 7700. Hijackings are typically terrorist-linked, especially after 9/11 when four planes were hijacked to attack New York and Washington D.C.
7700s are quite concerning as well, and are used in any form of emergency from engine failures to medical emergencies as well.
Hijack Squawks Are Rare Nowadays…
Post-9/11, hijack squawk code transmissions became rare, although they can still happen. They became rare because of global investment into security facilities at airports, which has made it harder for this to occur.
The same goes for onboard an aircraft too, with the cockpit doors being further reinforced to offer a higher chance of failure when it comes to accessing the cockpit.
It is exactly the reason why SQ37 has gained attention over the weekend, as the concern of a hijacking was at the time credible before a false alarm was announced.
Even so, it is key that everyone is on edge for these sorts of situations as a plane crash can easily convert into losing lives on the ground as well as in the aircraft.
It is good news that this 7500 transmission did end up becoming a false alarm if it was a real threat, then a lot of concern would have been placed on authorities in Los Angeles when conducting airport checks.
Either way, it also highlights how air travel can still be a threat to terrorism, irrespective of security checks, as those wanting to hijack aircraft can still plan in different ways.
Therefore, an approach to improving security on a day-by-day basis is vital to ensure safety in air travel.