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India-bound NWA Flight Turned Back, Escorted To Amsterdam By F-16s

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Flight NW0042 from Amsterdam to Mumbai is perhaps one of the best-known symbols of the Flat World, at least for the thousands of Indians who have had occasion to take it as the home leg of their return to India from their temporary or permanent bases in the United States. It can be a noisy flight on the Amsterdam-Mumbai leg, with caterwauling children, tired passengers, and not very good food.

Things seem to have been a bit more out of sync on the Wednesday flight. The pilot, while over German airspace soon after taking off from Amsterdam, requested permission to return, and also asked for a military escort. In short order, two Dutch F-16s showed up to escort the plane back to Schiphol airport. Not much details are available yet, but it appears at least seven passengers have been detained for questioning. The threat level has not been raised, and a spokesperson for the Dutch National Terrorism Coordinator termed it a 'light threat'. The flight has been cancelled.

An Iberian Airlines flight was turned back to Amsterdam in April, and last year, a British Airways flight had the same experience. Tensions are fraught in the skies after the recent bomb plot at Heathrow, and no one is evidently taking any chances. The Washington Post reports on recent incidents,

Several alerts have been sounded since the terrorism plot was outlined in London. On Friday, a British plane made an emergency landing in southern Italy after a bomb scare, and the U.S. Air Force scrambled jets to escort a United Airlines flight from London to Washington as it was diverted to Boston.

There are no reports of the in-flight movie having been Snakes on a Plane


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  • I can understand, being post 9/11, the extra precautions and immediate response time in securing situations such as these. But, on 9/11, no matter what ‘story’ I’ve heard as of yet, I cannot for the life of me understand how 4 planes could go off their courses, ‘meander’ through NY air space, through WASH DC, of all places without stirring a single alarm.

    Before any of you shout out how simple, how possible, how believable a situation such as this is, how it was just waiting to happen, think about,,really think about what your argument would have been if on 9/10 I had put forth the proposition how easy it would be for someone to pilot commercial airliners on the courses they took.
    Now, make me understand that.

    THEN, tell me why it is so incredulous to believe that at this time their are WMDs , at least one in every major city, waiting for a particular day congruous to a special Muslim holy day or other significant date to demonstrate to us infidels that our freedom is only an illusion.
    After all, it is our Freedom that they hate.

  • Les Slater

    International Herald Tribune – August 24, 2006

    HAARLEM, the Netherlands Prosecutors said Thursday that they had found no evidence of a terrorist threat aboard a Northwest Airlines flight to India that returned to Amsterdam and that they were releasing all 12 passengers arrested after an emergency …