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Airlines

UPDATE 3-Amsterdam-Aruba flight diverted after bomb hoax

* Plane to Aruba diverted to Ireland’s Shannon Airport

* 44 year-old Dutch man in custody

* Irish police give all clear after search of plane

(Adds all clear given by police)

By Ben Berkowitz

AMSTERDAM, Jan 13 (Reuters) - An ArkeFly flight carrying 235 people from Amsterdam to Aruba in the Caribbean was forced to divert to Ireland on Wednesday after an unruly Dutch passenger made false bomb threats during the flight.

ArkeFly said Flight 361 landed at Shannon Airport, where the man was handed over to authorities. There were 224 passengers and 11 crew aboard the Boeing 767.

Irish police gave the all clear after conducting a search of the plane. The man, identified as a 44-year-old Dutch national, was in custody.

“He came across as a very unstable and aggressive passenger during the flight and he mentioned several times that he had planted a bomb in the airplane,” an ArkeFly spokeswoman said.

There was no indication he had attempted to set off any sort of device during the flight, she said.

A spokeswoman for Shannon airport said the twin-aisle airliner was towed to a remote location for the police search.

The plane was held in a secured area until after its scheduled landing time at 1930 GMT as a precaution in case there were any timed devices on board, ArkeFly said.

A representative of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol declined to comment on the incident.

Early reports of the threat immediately raised fears of another attempted plane bombing out of Amsterdam.

A 23-year-old Nigerian man flew out of Schiphol on Christmas Day has been charged in the United States with attempting to blow up that flight as it neared Detroit.

Schiphol has since tightened security, though mainly for flights to the United States. Nonetheless its international reputation has been sullied.

ArkeFly, which is headquartered in Schiphol, primarily operates charter flights. It is a unit of the global travel group TUI Travel Plc. TT.L. Aruba, a Caribbean island that is an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is a popular tourist destination during the European winter.

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