Business | Aviation

Geneva Airport reopens, hijacker arrested after Ethiopian Airlines plane forced to land

Flights at Geneva Airport in Switzerland have resumed following the arrest of the alleged hijacker of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET702

  • By Alexander Cornwell, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 11:13 February 17, 2014

  • Image Credit: Reuters
  • A plane takes off as police officers stand around hijacked Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 702 at Cointrin airport in Geneva February 17, 2014.
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Dubai: Flights at Geneva Airport in Switzerland have resumed following the arrest of the alleged hijacker of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET702, a spokesperson for the airport said.

Departures restarted at 8:05am (local time) and arrivals at 8:45am, the spokesperson said.

The Ethiopian Airlines flight, from Addis Ababa to Rome, made an unscheduled landing at Geneva Airport early Monday morning with reports the plane had been hijacked.

The Geneva Airport spokesperson said the co-pilot has since been arrested by local police for hijacking the plane. The co-pilot, believed to an Ethiopian born in 1983, requested asylum in Switzerland because he said he was not safe in his country.

A spokesperson for Switzerland’s Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) confirmed the hijacker is in police custody and that the airport has reopened.

The Geneva Airport spokesperson said there were around 200 passengers on board flight ET702, however, the number of cabin crew is presently unknown.

Passengers and crew have now been taken to a section of the airport where they are being looked after, the spokesperson said.

There were no reported injuries and it’s currently believed that the co-pilot acted alone.

The closure of Geneva Airport caused delays and diversions to several airlines including Etihad Airways, Etihad Regional, and Lufthansa.

Spokespersons for Etihad Regional and Lufthansa have said their previously delayed or cancelled flights will now resume.

An Etihad Airways flight had earlier diverted to Milan and is now expected to complete its journey.

A United spokesperson stated that two of its Geneva-bound flights “safely diverted … following reports of a security issue.”
 

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