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Off-Duty Pilot Threatens to Blow up Plane

Off-Duty Pilot Threatens to Blow up Plane
Jeff Edwards

Abusive and out-of-control behavior from an off-duty pilot caused mayhem on a Dubai-bound Emirates flight and ended with the aviator in handcuffs after he threatened to “chase” and “kill” a flight attendant and claimed to possess explosives which he would use to blow up the aircraft. The disgraced pilot entered a guilty plea in court this week before asking the judge to give him more time to find legal representation.

A disruptive passenger on an Emirates flight from Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD) to Dubai International Airport (DXB) in June probably should have known better. The passenger who entered a guilty plea this week to charges that he assaulted a cabin crew member and threatened to “chase” and “kill” a flight attendant before stealing beers from the galley and promising to blow up the plane with explosives, is described as both a nightmare passenger and an off-duty Emirati pilot in local media accounts.

It is not clear from initial reports if the pilot was employed by Emirates at the time or if he was traveling between flights for another carrier. Emirates confirmed the incident, but declined to provide any details about the disruptive passenger’s background.

“Emirates can confirm that on June 1, 2018, an incident occurred during flight EK144 from Madrid to Dubai, whereby an unruly passenger was restrained by cabin crew,” the airline told Airways magazine. “The passenger was met by authorities in Dubai on arrival. The safety of our passengers and crew is of critical importance and will not be compromised. The matter is now before the courts, and Emirates cannot comment further on the incident.”

According to eyewitnesses, the off-duty pilot caused problems almost immediately, reportedly asking crew members if smoking was permitted on the plane as he boarded. In addition to punching and threatening a cabin crew member, the airline employee also helped himself to two beers without permission, repeatedly banged his head against the video monitor in front of his seat and eventually threatened to use explosives to blow up the aircraft. The out-of-control flyer was restrained with handcuffs before landing and was later taken into custody by authorities on the ground at DXB.

“He seemed to be acting abnormally. He asked me if smoking was allowed, and when I responded negatively, he emphasized that he was aware of it because he was a pilot,” the flight attendant told prosecutors in court documents obtained by Arabian Business. “A few hours after take-off, he started acting rowdily. He ran towards the aircraft’s kitchen, took two beers without permission.”

The less-than-professional 27-year-old aviator was charged with “unruly conduct, getting drunk on a plane, endangering the flight’s safety and punching a Flight Attendant on her chest.” Although he reportedly admitted to his actions and entered a guilty plea in court, the pilot asked the judge to delay sentencing until he could obtain legal representation.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (3)


  1. ioto1902

    August 7, 2018 at 4:44 am

    It doesn’t say who he is working for.

  2. Miles W. Rich

    August 7, 2018 at 5:24 am

    Do you remember the Egypt Air 767 that took off from JFK for Europe and dove into the Atlantic, while the FDR recorded a fight in the cockpit as one of the pilots repeated Alyhu AkBar as the plane raced for the water, and then Egypt tried to blame Boeing? They are lucky this guy was not flying the plane. I would rather fly with a crew that values life here on earth more than some mythical Paradise.

  3. jarjar

    August 7, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    @Miles W Rich, the cause of the crash of Egypt Air 767 has not been determined with certainty, but even if it had, the fact a pilot said “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) indicates nothing at all, since it is a common thing for a Muslim to say in times of great stress (and not unheard of for an Arab Christian or Arab Jew to say, either), for which a rapidly descending airline would certainly qualify. It’s analogous to “Jesus Save Me,” “Our Father Who Art in Heaven,” or any number of religion based expressions, which are uttered by plenty of people who value life on earth – including atheists and the vast majority of pious people of many faiths, including Muslims.

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