1974 British Airways bombing attempt

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1974 British Airways bombing attempt
British Airways Trident G-AWZV.jpg
A British Airways Hawker Siddeley Trident similar to the aircraft involved
Attempted bombing summary
Date 23 July 1974[1]
Summary Attempted bombing
Passengers 85
Crew Unknown
Fatalities 0
Survivors 85+ (all)
Aircraft type Hawker Siddeley Trident
Operator British Airways
Registration Unknown
Flight origin Belfast International Airport, Northern Ireland
Destination London Heathrow Airport, England

The 1974 British Airways bombing attempt was a failed bombing attack on a British Airways flight on 23 July 1974. The Provisional IRA claimed responsibly for the failed attack. It is the only time that the IRA has tried to bomb an passenger aircraft in flight, and was the second terrorist incident involving a bomb aboard an aircraft in the United Kingdom.


The flight took off from Belfast International Airport, Northern Ireland for a domestic flight to London Heathrow Airport, England. As the flight was over the Irish Sea a phone call was made to the Irish News warning that a bomb was on board and would explode. The flight crew diverted and made an emergency landing at Manchester Airport. All 85 passengers and crew were removed from the aircraft. Police found the bomb in a plastic bag under one of the seats. The bomb had 2 kg (4.4 lb) of explosives and was removed where a controlled explosion was carried out.


The Provisional IRA claimed that they had put the bomb on the aircraft but that it had never been intended to detonate but to show that they could get through the security at Belfast Airport.[2] The way in which the bomb gained access to the aircraft remains unknown. Three police officers from the Royal Ulster Constabulary were on board the flight. The Chief Constable of Northern Ireland, James Flanagan together with his wife[3] and two police officers with their families were travelling to London to attend an investiture; the two officers were to receive the British Empire Medal from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace[4] for their work during the Northern Ireland Troubles. The MP James Molyneaux, Chief Whip for the Ulster Unionist Party and a senior member of the Orange Order was also on the flight.[4] Bob Rae, who would later become Premier of the Canadian province of Ontario and leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, was also a passenger.[5]

See also


  1. Flight International p99
  2. Associated Press (25 July 1974). "IRA: Security won't stop us". Miami News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. New Ulster Biography
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Times 24 July 1974
  5. Bob Rae (July 22, 2014). "I know from experience the horror of airliner attacks". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 22, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • "Bomb found on Trident" Flight International 1 August 1974 p99
  • John Chartres "Timebomb found under seat after Belfast-London airliner makes an emergency landing" The Times 24 July 1974; pg. 1; Issue 59147; col E
  • Arthur Reed "Belfast flights continue despite bomb incident" The Times 25 July 1974; pg. 2; Issue 59148; col E

External links