Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Amsterdam's Schiphol in news - Dutch plane hijacked ?


Suddenly the busy airport of Schiphol is becoming most searched place in the internet. Schiphol is an important European airport, ranking as Europe’s 4th busiest and the world's 12th busiest by total passenger traffic.  Reportedly, 49.8 million passengers passed through the airport in 2011, a 10% increase compared with 2010.  Schiphol's main competitors in terms of passenger traffic and cargo throughput are London Heathrow Airport, Frankfurt Airport, Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport and Madrid-Barajas Airport.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the Netherlands' main international airport, located 20 minutes  southwest of Amsterdam, in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer. The airport's official English name, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, reflects the original Dutch word order.  The airport used to have the IATA code of SPL, which has fallen into disuse and has been replaced by AMS.

It is news because a passenger plane reported to have a hijacker and hostages on board has landed at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.  Reports  states that Dutch defence ministry suspects a hijacker is on board a plane which has landed at Schiphol airport. Some reports suggest that a unit of the Spanish airline Vueling intercepted by two F-16s of the Air Force and then guided landed at Schiphol.

The plane was immediately surrounded by security forces. Police suspect the aircraft, with 183 people onboard, was hijacked. According to Dutch media, the plane was flying into the Netherlands from Malaga, in Spain.  The F-16s took off from Volkel airbase after no radio contact could be made with the pilots, as confirmed by the Ministry of Defence reports www.nu.nl.  

The plane is reported to be an Airbus flight number VY 8366 with 183 passengers on board.  There are conflicting reports with  Vueling owner denying the  hijacking.   According to a spokesman the fears were fuelled based on a misunderstanding in communication between the pilot and the control tower. The plane, according to the spokesperson or deviated from its course, but that was because the instructions of the Dutch fighter pilots.   There reportedly has been no radio contact was with the pilot which prompted people to think that something is wrong. 

In an unrelated incident reported by BBC – the Schiphol airport  was closed and people evacuated  after a suspected World War II bomb was discovered.  It is reported that the departure hall serving most European destinations has been evacuated as a precautionary measure. Delays and cancellations are now affecting some flights and passengers are advised to check before leaving for the airport.

A bomb disposal team is now dealing with the device. The bomb was uncovered by workers digging near Pier C, which connects the main plaza with Departure Hall One, serving most destinations within Europe's 26-country passport-free Schengen zone.

Schiphol was used as a military airfield by Nazi Germany during the 1939-45 war, and was often attacked by allied bombers, Dutch media said.  Unexploded bombs dating back to the war are still frequently discovered in Europe. A 550lb (250kg) American bomb was detonated by a bomb disposal team in the German city of Munich on Tuesday. A 1.5-tonne mortar bomb probably fired by Nazi forces was also safely removed from the Polish capital, Warsaw.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
29th Aug 2012 @ 18.40 hrs

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