Update 15 May: The pair have been released on bail with their passports confiscated. They must stay in Tenerife pending their trial, or an extradition request from the UK.
Update 13 May: The pair will be tried in Spain thanks to an international treaty, specifically article 5.1.c of the Montreal Convention – Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, concerned with crimes against civil aviation security.
The Spanish press is saying they have been “saved” by the treaty because the maximum possible penalties for their crime are shorter in Spain than in the UK. Many may think, however, that Spain will be a far less favourable option for the two, as opposed to what is often seen as light justice in the UK.
The two men were transferred from the TFS cells yesterday and are now in Granadilla Police custody. They are expected to appear in Court tomorrow.
Update 12 May: The pair has been identified as Airam Paul Jerus and Nathan Levi Trippier, 20 and 21 years old respectively. The argument they were involved in with flight crew was based on demands for more alcohol when they had already been amply served. At one point the pilot was considering landing in Morocco, the country over which they were flying when the incident occurred, but radioed ahead to TFS to advise of the emergency nature of the approaching flight.
The punishment in the end will depend on where they are tried. In Spain, they would face between six months and a year in prison and a fine under the terms of 2003’s Ley de Seguridad Aérea. In the UK, though, under the 1982 Aviation Security Act, they would face anything from a minimum of five years imprisonment to a maximum of a life sentence. It is not impossible that they will be tried in Spain, but more likely that they will be returned to the UK for trial because the plane itself is “British territory”. As of last night, the pair were still in the police cells in TFS, not having set foot in Tenerife proper.
Original post 11 May: Two 20-year-old Britons were arrested around lunchtime today at TFS Reina Sofía after getting into an argument with the flight crew of a plane from Manchester to Tenerife and claiming they had carried a bomb on board. The crew alerted the Guardia Civil who then met the plane having activated the emergency protocol involving their own Grupo Rural de Seguridad número 8 and the Unidad Orgánica de la Policía Judicial e Información, as well as civilian security patrols. The threat was not clearly genuine, and the two men were arrested for false alarm, though the plane was thoroughly searched as a matter of routine procedure in such cases.