Málaga’s airport was the scene of tension in the middle of November when security protocols were activated as a hi-jacked aircraft bound for north Africa approached. Two F18s of the Spanish Air Force escorted the passenger plane as it came in to land.
Luckily, the whole incident was an exercise to test the coordination of all units involved with a view to improving the response to a genuine emergency. The mock hijacking was arranged at a time which would cause least impact on the airport’s normal operations.
The aircraft of Alba Star, a charter airline based at Palma de Mallorca, was supposedly stopping at Málaga en route to Africa. After take-off, the captain alerted the control tower to the hijacking and security protocols were activated, including meetings of committees established to intervene in such an incident.
Measures were in place to free the crew and passengers and regain control of the aircraft. Negotiations continued with the kidnappers for several hours, until everyone was released safely, following which the exercise was completed and later assessed.