Cablegate: Virgin Atlantic Diverted to Halifax, Nova Scotia
UNCLAS HALIFAX 000125
DEPT FOR OPS CENTER AND CA/OCS
DEPT FOR WHA/CAN
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC EAIR CA UK
SUBJECT: VIRGIN ATLANTIC DIVERTED TO HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA
1. (U) A Virgin Atlantic A-340, was en-route from Heathrow
Airport in London to JFK International in New York when the
airplane started broadcasting an internationally recognized
hijacking alert code. Canadian CF-18 fighter jets were scrambled
from Bagotville in Quebec and escorted the plane in to the
International Airport in Halifax.
2. All instructions and directions given by the F-18's were
complied with by the Virgin Atlantic pilot.
3. Upon touchdown in Halifax, the plane was diverted to the far
end of the airport and surrounded by airport security personnel
and Royal Canadian Mounted Police sent to the airport in
response to the situation.
4. The pilot was in communication with the chief operating
officer of the airport, Peter Clarke, as well as with RCMP
officers on the ground. Air Canada moved in air steps and the
pilot was instructed to exit the plane.
5. After a brief conversation with personnel on the ground, the
RCMP and the pilot reboarded the plane to observe the
6. At approximately 1:45 p.m., Mr. Clarke informed TDY Consul
that the RCMP was satisfied that the alarm had indeed
malfunctioned and stated that Air Canada maintenance crews were
on board attempting to fix the alarm.
7. Mr. Clarke reported that the plane had a total of 272
passengers and 17 crew members on board. A manifest with
nationalities was not available. No passengers were taken off
8. After reports from the airport that the USG was not going to
allow the plane to travel into United States air space, we were
informed at approximately 4:10 this afternoon that the plane had
taken off and was headed for New York.