Flight from Cairo to Abu Dhabi diverted after \'security alert\'
DUBAI (UAE) – An Etihad Airways flight travelling from Cairo to Abu Dhabi was diverted Sunday to a military base in the United Arab Emirates due to a false security alert, the carrier said.
Flight EY650 landed at Al-Minhad airbase in Dubai "due to a security alert," the Abu Dhabi-based carrier said in a statement, adding that the plane was searched "but nothing of a suspicious nature was found."
All 128 passengers and crew members of the Airbus A321 aircraft were later transferred by coach to Abu Dhabi airport and the plane was also flown to the capital, it said.
The airline gave no details on the nature of the threat.
Twitter accounts associated with sympathizers of the Islamic State group tweeted out messages overnight threatening airplanes, with one mentioning the Etihad flight specifically.
It was the second scare in a week involving a UAE-based carrier.
On Monday, a jetliner operated by Air Arabia was diverted to al-Minhad after a passenger said the plane would explode. That flight was from Kuwait to Sharjah, a city outside Dubai, where the airline is based.
The state news agency WAM said authorities in that case "took the appropriate standard procedures to deal with the situation," without elaborating.
The Emirates is a seven-state federation that is an important Western ally and a member of the U.S.-led coalition taking part in airstrikes against the Islamic State group, which has seized about a third of Iraq and Syria.
Aviation is a key industry for the oil-rich country. The nation is home to Dubai-based airline Emirates, the Mideast's biggest carrier, and Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest airport for international passenger traffic.
Abu Dhabi International Airport, the intended destination for Sunday's diverted flight, is undergoing a major expansion to accommodate Etihad's rapid growth.