An armed air marshal on board a private Jordanian charter flight brandished his gun at a group of passengers after they allegedly tried to get into flight deck to speak with the Captain.
The incident is believed to have occurred several months ago but video of the altercation has only just surfaced in recent days and has quickly gone viral. No one was hurt in the incident but the full circumstances of what took place still haven’t been made public.
What we do know is that the altercation happened onboard a plane operated by Jordan Aviation which is a private charter company and that the airline was operating the flight from Saudi Arabia to Nigeria as part of an Umrah pilgrimage package.
According to several accounts, the plane was forced to divert from its intended destination in Nigeria and landed in a different city. Passengers onboard the aircraft then wanted to speak with the Captain but were prevented from doing so by an air marshal who pulled a handgun on the passengers.
It is standard practice for most Jordanian airlines to have an armed air marshal on international services. Flag carrier Royal Jordanian has used air marshals since 1970 and continues to pocket the expense even though it admits the protection provided by armed guards is both “expensive” and “risky since there is always concern over a gun battle in mid-air”.
Jordan was convinced to start using air marshals more than 40 years ago after the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacked four aircraft belonging to the now-defunct airline’s Pan Am, TWA and Swissair on 6th September 1970 and then three days later hijacked a fifth plane belonging to BOAC.
The TWA, Swissair and BOAC jets were diverted to an airfield in Jordan where passengers were held for six days before armed forces staged a raid which resulted in the aircraft being blown up.
In a statement posted to its Twitter account, Jordan Aviation said the incident occurred “several months ago”.
“Passengers tried to reach the cockpit to talk to the flight captain, which is prohibited by law, as the security men of the Security and Protection Unit accompanying the flight prevented him from reaching the cockpit,” the statement continued.
The airline has threatened to prosecute anyone who spreads false rumours about the incident.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.