Air Europa Pilot Error Caused Schiphol Security Alert

November 6, 2019

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Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport said flight operations had returned to normal after a major security alert turned out to be caused by pilot error.

Flights at Europe’s third busiest airport were disrupted after a pilot on an Air Europa plane accidentally sent an alarm code used to signal a hijacking.

The aircraft was due to leave Schiphol at around 19:00 (7pm) local time from the airport’s pier D on a flight to Madrid, but the alarm caused an immediate lockdown of the terminal. Flights were able to continue at other piers however.

The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (military police) said just after 20:30 that “passengers and crew are safely off board. Investigation is still running.”

By 22:00 Schiphol confirmed that operations had recovered and the airport was operating normally.

Air Europa later confirmed it was a false alarm, tweeting that “In the flight Amsterdam - Madrid, this afternoon was activated, by mistake, a warning that triggers protocols on hijackings at the airport. Nothing has happened, all passengers are safe and sound waiting to fly soon. We deeply apologize.”

This is the second time the airline has been in the news this week after British Airways parent IAG announced it had agreed to buy the Spanish airline for EUR€1 billion (USD$1.1 billion).