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Fire on Monarch plane 'started deliberately by passenger'

A Monarch plane at Birmingham Airport. Credit: PA|

Two small fires which broke out on a Monarch plane are believed to have been started deliberately by a passenger.

West Midlands Police have launched an inquiry into the incidents on a Monarch service from Birmingham Airport to Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt.

The force said no-one was hurt as both blazes were contained and extinguished by staff on board the flight on Thursday August 27.

A police spokesman said: "Officers from the Airport Policing Unit continue to investigate the circumstances around the incidents.

"At present no arrests have been made but our inquiries are still ongoing."

In a statement, Monarch Airlines said local police were in attendance when flight ZB472, an Airbus A321 carrying 201 passengers and seven crew, touched down in Egypt.

"UK authorities have been notified and are dealing with the matter. As the alleged incident is the subject of a police investigation, we are not in a position to comment further," the airline said.

Holiday airline pilot suspended in drink probe

An airline pilot has been suspended after being arrested at Birmingham Airport on suspicion of being over the legal alcohol limit.

The 51-year-old man, who works for airline Thomson Airways, was detained by West Midlands Police.

The pilot has been suspended after being arrested at Birmingham Airport. Credit: Press Association

The incident took place on Sunday February 10, although details have only just emerged.

The pilot has since been told he will face no further police action, Thomson is carrying out its own investigation into the incident.

A spokeswoman for the airline said: "Thomson Airways is aware that allegations of an aviation offence brought against one of our pilots have been dropped.

"However, we are continuing to conduct an internal investigation into the situation, and the pilot in question has been suspended.

"We are not able to comment further until our investigations are complete."

The pilot, who has not been named, was initially released on bail pending further inquiries after being arrested inside the airport on suspicion of being unfit to perform aviation duties due to drink.

Border force have 'taken action' on recommendations

A report has found that border officials at Birmingham Airport could have been carrying out illegal bag searches, without the passengers' knowledge.

It said: "Despite the fact that the current Border Force enforcement handbook guidance prohibited this activity, staff confirmed they were carrying out covert baggage searches."

A Border Force spokesman said:

Searching baggage, including when the owner is not present, is a legal and proportionate response to this issue. Any such searches must be authorised by a senior officer.

We have already taken action on the recommendations the Chief Inspector made in his report.


'No central record to show covert baggage searches'

I found there was no central record to show occasions where covert baggage searches were carried out, but no seizures were made.

The absence of these records meant that no assurance could be provided to demonstrate that this power was being used in a lawful, proportionate and controlled manner.

– John Vine, Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration

'Illegal' luggage searches at Birmingham Airport

Illegal luggage searches could have been conducted by border officials at one of Britain's busiest airports, without the passengers' knowledge.

Over 1,000 pieces of luggage were seized at Birmingham Airport in the year to September.

Illegal luggage searches could have been conducted by border officials at Birmingham Airport Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

However, Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration John Vine said there was no record of the instances in which these searches did not result in a successful seizure.

Because of this, there is no way of knowing the total number of searches conducted in the period, and whether border staff were breaching passengers' rights.

Flights resume at Birmingham airport after plane skids off runway

An incident involving Monarch flight ZB467 arriving from Nice and operated by AURELA Airlines occurred at 13.11 this afternoon.

We can confirm the passengers left the aircraft using the steps, there were no injuries and no one was hurt.

The airport is open with flights arriving and departing. Some flight departures may still be subject to delay; passengers should contact the airline directly.

– Birmingham airport
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