easyJet flights: How pilots might see exploding LAND MINES on new flight route

easyJet flights: How pilots might see exploding LAND MINES on new flight route

In 2018, the easyJet announced plans to return to Jordan with a winter service to the Red Sea port of Aqaba. The new route, which started in October last year, departs from Gatwick every Saturday and Tuesday and takes just over five hours. Aqaba’s attractions include its beaches, snorkelling and scuba diving, plus access to the south of the country, including the famous city of Petra and the desert landscapes of Wadi Rum.

However, flights to the Middle East, and Jordan in particular, still come with a unique set of problems.

It was revealed during ITV’s “easyJet: Inside The Cockpit” how it is not unusual for flight crews to see land mines exploding during the descent into the country.

Captain Gaurav Adwaney told his colleagues during a pre-flight briefing: “It will be a long day today, we are flying to Aqaba in Jordan.

“One of the things I think I need to mention is when we go in there, there are some land mines being cleared quite close to the airport.

EasyJet pilots can see land mines during their descent

EasyJet pilots can see land mines during their descent (Image: GETTY)

Aqaba

Aqaba is located in Jordan (Image: GETTY)

One of the things I think I need to mention is when we go in there, there are some land mines being cleared

Captain Gaurav Adwaney

“So you might see some sand, maybe, coming up on the approach.

“But it is very normal.”

Senior first officer Iris De Kan then expressed her shock, stating: “A normal day, yeah? Then you see land mines?”

Jordan’s location – lodged between Iraq, Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories and Syria too has seen the country take on almost 700,000 refugees of war.

The country has also previously taken part in air strikes against ISIS in Iraq, as well as against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

In relation to the Syrian crisis, the Jordanian government announced in 2015 that it would provide locations for a US-funded programme to train small groups of Syrian rebels.

Captain Gaurav Adwaney spoke to colleagues

Captain Gaurav Adwaney spoke to colleagues (Image: ITV)

Captain Gaurav Adwaney

Gaurav Adwaney was in charge of the flight to Jordan (Image: ITV)

As a result, the country has made itself a target against terrorist organisations working in the Middle East.

There have been a number of incidents in recent years, most of which have targeted local security forces.

On August 10, 2018, an explosive device destroyed a gendarmerie vehicle in Fuheis, killing two officers and injuring several others.

On December 18, 2016, 10 people were killed, including three civilians, and at least 29 injured in a terrorist attack in Kerak – but it is not clear if tourists were deliberately targeted.

In June 2016, five people were killed after an ISIS gunman gained access to the General Intelligence Directorate’s base in Baqa’a.

There was also an explosion near Rukban on the north-eastern border resulting in some 20 casualties.

The authorities in Jordan have also successfully disrupted a number of planned attacks and made a number of arrests.

The Foreign Office advises against “all but essential travel to within 3km of the border with Syria”.

The official advice adds: “You should remain vigilant at all times.

“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Jordan. 

The flight was headed to Jordan

The flight was headed to Jordan (Image: GOOGLE)

“There have been a number of incidents since 2016, some serious. Attacks could be indiscriminate including in places visited by foreigners, particularly hotels, shopping malls and tourist sites. 

“You should take extra care and, in the event of an incident, follow the advice of the Jordanian authorities.”

The advice goes on to explain that travellers can expect for security checks to take longer too.

It continues: “There’s a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation. 

“Additional security measures have been in place on flights departing from Jordan to the UK since March 2017 and you should cooperate fully with security officials. 

“Restrictions on carrying large electronic devices in the aircraft cabin, introduced as part of these measures, have now been lifted for the vast majority of airlines operating from airports in Jordan. 

“The Desert Highway (highway 15) has occasionally been closed due to unrest in Ma’an, and parts of the highway between Karak and Aqaba may also be blocked at times. 

“If you’re using the highway in the area you should exercise caution and follow police instructions.”

Despite the warnings, more than 70,000 British nationals travelled to Jordan in 2017 with the majority of visits reportedly trouble-free

Jordan is a key ally of the US and, together with Egypt, is one of only two Arab nations to have made peace with Israel. 

EasyJet flights run to Aqaba on Saturday and Tuesday

EasyJet flights run to Aqaba on Saturday and Tuesday (Image: GETTY)

The desert kingdom emerged out of the divided Middle East after World War One.

Those that do visit Jordan are surprised by the historical gems they discover. 

For example, the historical city of Petra has been labelled one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Also known as the Rose City, due to the colouring of the stone, the main entrance is a breathtaking sight located at the end of a winding stone corridor that was once home to the ancient Nabatean people in 300BC.

The baptism of Jesus Christ is also said to have taken place in the Jordan river, as described by John the Baptist in the Bible.

As a result, many religious followers find themselves travelling to Jordan and further on to Jerusalem.

Published at Thu, 16 May 2019 08:25:00 +0000