Panic gripped passengers at the Chandigarh international airport on Tuesday evening, hours after blasts rocked the airport at Belgian capital Brussels, as security officials and the police did a thorough check of the Jet Airways plane bound for Delhi after a call that a bomb was planted on it. The plane had landed at the airport at around 4.30pm and was to depart for Delhi at 5pm with around 50 passengers on board.
“There was a call at Jet Airways call centre in Delhi that bombs had been planted in five of its flights originating from the capital. This plane had left Delhi for Chandigarh by then. We were alerted. All security agencies were called in to search the plane,” said Sunil Dutt, chief executive officer (CEO) of the airport.
Sources added that when the call was received at the company’s call centre in Delhi, three flights — to Gorakhpur, Chandigarh and Dehradun — had already left the capital.
When the plane arrived, it was kept at a separate bay and a bomb disposal squad of SAS Nagar police along with Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Air Force personnel searched plane.
“After completing all the formalities and a thorough check, the plane was allowed to go back to Delhi at around 8pm,” said Dutt.
He added that the search took time due to the size of aircraft and the number of passengers travelling on the aircraft. Finally, the plane left for Delhi at around 8pm. “The operation to search the plane took around two-and-a-half hours,” said inspector HS Bal, in-charge of the police post at the airport.
“We regret the inconvenience caused to our guests. The safety and security of our guests and the crew is always our priority,” Jet Airways said.