SYDNEY – Australian police said Friday they had restrained a man as he tried to break into the cockpit of a commercial Qantas flight en route to the Philippines.
The 33-year-old was detained by Australian Federal Police (AFP) air security officers on the Sydney to Manila journey Thursday after he allegedly attempted to access the cockpit some two and a half hours into the eight-hour flight.
Police said the man had been abusive towards flight crew before he ran to the front of the aircraft and attempted to open the cockpit door.
He was restrained by air security officers.
Qantas confirmed there had been a “disruptive passenger” onboard flight QF19 from Sydney to Manila, adding that the safety of the aircraft was never compromised and the plane landed safely in Manila.
“Distracting the pilots of a commercial aircraft carrying approximately 400 passengers and flying at an altitude of 10,000 metres (11,000 yards, 33,000 feet) is a very real threat to the safe operation of that aircraft,” AFP National Manager of Aviation, Assistant Commissioner Shane Connelly said in a statement.
“If the cockpit had been breached, the consequences could have been disastrous.
“Such behavior on flights involving an Australian destination or origin cannot — and will not — be tolerated by airlines and the Australian Federal Police.”
Police said the aircraft was not endangered during the incident and the passenger involved was handed to Philippines authorities.
Air security officers fly on selected domestic and international flights to ensure the safety of travellers.