Amsterdam airport reopens after bomb, hijack scares

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 29, 2012 1:06 PM
Amsterdam airport reopens after bomb, hijack scares

By Gilbert Kreijger

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Amsterdam Schiphol's airport, one of Europe's busiest transport hubs, reopened its runways and terminals on Wednesday afternoon after a World War Two bomb found on the site was removed and reports of a hijacking proved unfounded.

Authorities had closed parts of the airport after the unexploded German bomb was discovered buried underground near Terminal C, which handles flights to most major European destinations.

A handful of European flights were canceled, while several dozen were delayed on Wednesday morning.

The 500kg explosive, uncovered during construction work, was later removed so it could be disarmed safely, a spokeswoman for the airport said.

A few hours after the discovery of the bomb, the Dutch defense ministry sent two fighter planes to intercept a Vueling passenger plane with about 180 passengers on board.

The plane, which had flown from Malaga in Spain, lost radio contact with air traffic control, prompting fears it had been hijacked.

It landed safely at Schiphol where it was surrounded by security forces on the tarmac until the military police established that the aircraft had not been hijacked.

Schiphol is Europe's fifth busiest airport and handled about 45 million passengers in 2010. It is owned by the Dutch state, the cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, and French airports operator Aeroports de Paris.

Flights by airline KLM, which is part of Franco-Dutch group Air France KLM and which uses the airport as its main hub, were affected by the runway and terminal closures, Schiphol's website showed.

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Schiphol was a military airport during World War Two. It was bombed both by the Germans at the start of the conflict and by Allied forces during the fighting.

The discovery of the bomb occurred a day after explosives experts detonated another World War Two bomb discovered in Munich, the city's fire department said.

The blast from the bomb that was found on Monday blew out windows and set a number of nearby roofs alight.

(Additional reporting by Chris Cottrell in Berlin and Thomas Escritt in Amsterdam; Editing by Andrew Heavens)