By Ma. Cristina Arayata

BOMB THREAT.  A paper with the word “bomb” was found inside the lavatory of a Manila-bound Cebu Pacific aircraft at the Bicol International Airport (BIA) on Monday (Oct. 2, 2023), prompting the airline to seek security assistance. The runway was closed for about three hours, affecting 12 flights. (Photo courtesy of CAAP

MANILA – Twelve flights were affected by a bomb threat at the Bicol International Airport (BIA) on Monday, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) reported.

Cebu Pacific (CEB) flight 5J 326, with 130 passengers, failed to take off at 10:45 a.m. after it requested security assistance due to a bomb joke, according to the CAAP report.

A paper with the word “bomb” written on it was found inside the aircraft lavatory.

CAAP has yet to provide other details as of posting time.

Five outbound and five inbound CEB flights were delayed.

One Philippine Airlines flight was diverted back to Manila as BIA runway was closed temporarily while a Manila-bound PAL flight was also affected.

The BIA runway reopened at 1:35 p.m.

The aircraft concerned was relocated to the Isolated Aircraft Parking. Passengers were safely deplaned and directed to the arrival area for inspection.

CAAP Security and Intelligence Service agents, along with Aviation Security K-9 Bomb Disposal units and the Philippine National Police – Aviation Security Group, screened luggage and hand-carried items.

In an advisory, CEB said the flight crew were also subjected to inspection and the affected passengers were provided with meals. (PNA)