"it also strikes fear into the community."
Rashidul, Islam, aged 32, of Ivy Road, London, has been jailed for 16 months after he called in a hoax bomb threat.
Lewes Crown Court heard he made the bogus call in order to delay his own flight because he believed he was going to miss it.
On May 4, 2019, Islam intended to catch the 5:40 pm flight from Gatwick to Marrakech, Morocco, to visit his fiancée but was running late.
He then anonymously called the police, saying:
“EasyJet flight 8897 leaves in 40 minutes… There may be a bomb on the plane, you need to delay it, you need to stop it now.”
Minutes later, he made two further hoax claims which sparked panic as cabin crew and pilots had to be evacuated.
All 147 passengers were checked again by security and were held at the gate in the terminal.
Luggage was also removed and rescreened, resulting in a three-hour delay.
Meanwhile, Islam turned up late to check-in. An investigation revealed that the mobile number used to make the hoax call belonged to Islam.
Police arrived and arrested Islam at the North Terminal on suspicion of making a bomb hoax and was taken into custody.
When he was interviewed, Islam admitted the offence.
He told police that due to issues with public transport, he had panicked about missing his flight as he would not be able to afford another ticket.
He then decided to make the false 999 call in order to halt his flight.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Stephen Trott said:
“While the defendant expressed remorse, there is no excuse for his actions that day and he has been sentenced accordingly.
“Making a false report of a bomb on a plane not only causes significant costs and delays to the airport and its passengers; it also strikes fear into the community.
“We treat all reports of this nature extremely seriously, and anyone caught committing such an offence will be dealt with robustly.
“We work closely with Gatwick Airport and its airlines to ensure people are kept as safe as possible, and we will not tolerate anyone who compromises this.”
It was reported that the incident cost EasyJet approximately £30,000.
The flight eventually departed at 8:54 pm, over three hours later than scheduled.
On January 17, 2020, Islam was jailed for 16 months. He was also banned from Gatwick Airport.
Natalie Smith, of the CPS, said:
“Rashidul Islam suggests his 999 calls were simply a misguided solution to running late and not intended to cause genuine fear.”
“But the bomb hoax was intended to make authorities fear there was a genuine enough threat that they needed to search the plane.
“The consequences were so serious that flight crew had to be evacuated, passengers rechecked and luggage removed at a cost of three extra hours on the runway and £30,000 to the airline.”
Ms Smith added: “This sentence should send a message that creating a bomb scare is no trivial matter.
“These threats have a major impact on everyone in the airport – diverting multiple agencies from core duties such as assisting passengers, providing security or carrying out counter-terrorism checks.”