Aviation News

August 21, 2012

British Airways Steward Who Made Fake Bomb Threat to Earn Promotion Gets 6 Months in Jail Instead

British Airways Boeing 747 and 777s cross paths at Boston's Logan International Airport. (Photo by Eric Dunetz)

A British Airways steward who wrote a threatening message on the back of a toilet door during a flight from London to the Japanese capital of Tokyo has been sentenced to jail for six months, police said on Tuesday. He admitted making the threat in an attempt to impress his employer.

Mathew Davis, 22, of West Sussex in southern England, was arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service Aviation Security Command when he arrived at Heathrow Airport in London following the incident in February. He admitted making the threat when questioned by police.

The incident happened in February on a flight from London to Tokyo when a cabin crew member discovered a threatening message on the back of a toilet door. The discovery was made as the aircraft was flying over the Middle East, but the captain of the flight assessed the threat as a hoax and alerted authorities.

“The bomb on this plane will explode at 16:00GMT unless demands are met,” the message on the door said, according to police. Specific details such as the flight number, name of the airline, the type of aircraft, or the number of people on board the aircraft have not been made public, but the Daily Mail reported that it was a British Airways 777 carrying 150 passengers.

In a police interview after his arrest, Davis said he wrote the threat because he believed he would be able to mention the incident in his performance review if he handled the situation well. He pleaded guilty on May 10 at Isleworth Crown Court and was sentenced to six months in prison on Friday. Details about the case were not made public until Monday.

“As someone employed within the aviation industry, Mr Davis would have been well aware of the serious consequences of making a bomb threat, regardless of whether he intended for this threat to be taken seriously or not,” said Superintendent Matthew Twist of the Metropolitan Police Service Aviation Security Command.

Twist added: “The potential consequences of the threat being made could have led to significant distress and a great deal of financial loss and inconvenience to both the airline and all of the passengers and crew on board. We hope [the] sentence sends a clear message that anyone caught making a bomb hoax will be brought before the courts and dealt with appropriately.”

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