Airlines and Avsegroup launches info drive against bomb jokes


The Police Aviation Security Group (Avsegroup) and major airlines in Manila have launched an information campaign to remind the public about the risks of making bomb threats or jokes while at the airport or onboard an aircraft.

Such behavior, according to the police, cannot only disrupt the affected flight, but also other flights, impacting airline operations and potentially leading to flight cancellations and delays in airport security aircraft arrivals and departures.

The local carriers have advised the public to be mindful of their words and actions, especially in sensitive areas such as airport terminals and onboard aircraft.

Steve Dailisan, AirAsia Philippines Communications and Public Affairs Country head, has also emphasized that there’s no excuse for cracking a bomb joke on the ground or in flight as it immediately raises the alarm among personnel and can cause discomfort among other guests.

“Not only does it cause trouble, but it may also traumatize first-time travelers,” he said.

The Philippine National Police recorded eight bomb jokes in 2023, and in January this year, it received three incidents in different locations, including the airport in the provinces.

Recently, a flight from Narita bound for Manila was disrupted for more than two hours after a passenger joked about a bomb in his luggage. This prompted local authorities to perform a mandatory security screening on the aircraft, as well as the baggage and cargo.

Another incident involved a guest bound for Tacloban who checked in late and missed his flight. He threatened to “blow up” the airline out of frustration. The passenger was placed under police custody and banned from flying with the airline.

According to Avsegroup chief Brig. Gen. Jack Wanky, individuals who make such threats or jokes can face legal ramifications under Presidential Decree 1727, also known as the Anti-Bomb Joke Law.

Bomb jokes are punishable by up to five years in prison or a P40,000 fine.

The law was enacted to prevent false bomb threats or pranks, recognizing their potential implications on public safety and aviation security.

Joel Zurbano

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