An EasyJet passenger who caused a bomb scare on his own flight because he was running late and feared he would miss it was today jailed for 16 months.
Rashidul Islam, 32, of Brent, North London, anonymously called police 45 minutes before his flight from Gatwick Airport was due to take off, warning: ‘Someone may have a bomb on the plane, you need to delay the flight’.
The hoaxer made two additional threats in the following minutes last year causing crew on the 5.40 pm flight to Marrakesh to be evacuated and all 147 passengers to be checked again by security.
Luggage also had to be removed and rescreened, resulting in a three-hour delay at Britain’s second busiest airport on May 4 during a bank holiday weekend, which is thought to have cost the Luton-based airline about $31,000.
Islam, who was flying to Morocco to visit his fiancée, made the bomb hoax after faced travel disruption en route to the airport from Cricklewood, North London.
After being arrested, Islam told police he had panicked about missing his flight because he would not be able to afford another ticket.
He suggests his 999 calls were simply a misguided solution to running late and not intended to cause genuine fear.
But the bomb hoax was intended to make authorities fear there was a genuine enough threat that they needed to search the plane.
Charges And Punishments
Islam was jailed for 16 months at Lewes Crown Court today after admitting communicating false information at an earlier hearing.
The hoax initially succeeded in giving Islam time to check in but he was arrested at the gate after police traced him as the anonymous caller.
He admitted one count of communicating false information at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on December 20 last year. He was also banned from Gatwick Airport.
Islam made the threat a few months before he was caught for unrelated money laundering offenses for which he was sentenced to 42 months in jail. The two sentences are concurrent.