Bomb Threat

Unscheduled Communications

There was a bomb threat at approximately 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 25, 2015 aboard an Air Canada flight destined for Ottawa/Edmonton, as it pulled away from a gate at St. John’s International Airport. All flight operations temporarily ceased, and flights were impacted while the terminal building was searched and an investigation occurred. The Airport Authority communicated through news releases that were sent to media and posted to its website. Social media updates were also made as information became available and snack vouchers were handed out by Airport Authority for those who were waiting. Arriving flights were kept a safe distance from the Airport Terminal Building until operations were deemed safe, and operations resumed almost five hours later.

Entry Statement

1. Project Goals: 

To ensure passenger safety and satisfaction was a priority despite the incident and delays.
To communicate to the public as information became available and to ensure confidence in the process.

Safety: Ensure necessary protocol was taken with evacuating passengers from the Departures and Pre-Board Screening Areas.

Communications: Confirmation of incident and the affected flight; updates on airport status, status of investigative work by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

2. Production: 

Tactics included: news releases sent to media, posted to website, and sent via social media; encouragement to airlines to communicate to passengers; and social media updates that were sent as information became available.
A tweet confirming there was an incident was sent via Twitter and received 37,118 impressions.
On June 25 – 26, there were two news releases posted to the website regarding the incident and status updates. During that time period, there were 16,315 website users.

First news release:
• posted to Twitter - received 133 retweets from users (8:25 p.m.)
• reached 114,560 Facebook users
• bitly – 2,003 clicks

Second news release:
• posted to Twitter - received 6 retweets (1:02 a.m.)
• reached 1,854 Facebook users
• bitly – 261 clicks

Information was made available to the public in a timely manner, questions were answered, and accurate updates were shared as they occurred. The Airport Authority worked with local police and stand-ups with media followed the final news release.

3. Evaluation: 

There were no negative comments directed towards the Airport Authority on how the situation was handled. Commentary included thoughts about such an event happening in St. John’s. Comments from the community and stakeholders indicated it was a “text book” media response to the situation.

4. Budget: