KUALA LUMPUR: A Malindo Air flight OD1158 bound for Penang with 37 passengers and crew on board was delayed for several hours after the plane was halted due to a bomb threat before take-off at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang today.
The hybrid airline, in a statement, said the flight captain was alerted of a possible bomb threat during boarding and as per standard operating procedures, the airline alerted the control tower and the authorities.
Malindo Public Relations and Communications director Raja Sa’adi Raja Amrin said the plane, which was scheduled to depart for Penang at 3.40pm, was taxied to a remote bay to disembark the passengers safely and they (passengers) were quarantined as part of the safety procedures.
“The Bomb Disposal Unit conducted a thorough search of the aircraft and the passengers’ luggage and later gave clearance that the aircraft was safe,” Raja Sa’adi said in a statement here last night.
He said the passengers, including one infant were provided with meals, and were transferred on another flight which departed for Penang at 9.30pm.
Assuring that the situation was dealt with professionally, Malindo Air stressed that the airline took such threats to the well-being and safety of passengers very seriously.
Meanwhile, Petaling Jaya police chief ACP Azmi Abu Kassim, when met at the airport, said the flight had to be delayed after one of the passengers uttered the word ‘bomb’ to one of the crew during the inspection of boarding passes.
He said during the inspection, the man showed his boarding pass to the crew and asked: “Kenapa nak periksa sekali lagi, bukan ada bom pun,” (Why do you need to check again, it’s not like there is a bomb here”)
Azmi said the man was probably unaware that the word ‘bomb’ was a very sensitive word in the aviation industry which involved the safety of passengers and crew members.
“After being alerted by the airline, our Canine Unit and Bomb Squad were rushed to the scene to carry out a thorough inspection on the plane, but found nothing.
“The Malindo Air crew concerned who was asked to identify the passenger who uttered the word also failed to remember,” he said, adding that the police were still carrying out a thorough probe to prevent untoward incidents.