British Airways Flight 2069
G-BNLM, the aircraft involved in the incident
|Date||29 December 2000|
|Summary||Attempted suicide hijacking|
|Site||Airspace over Sudan|
|Aircraft type||Boeing 747-400|
|Flight origin||Gatwick Airport, London, United Kingdom|
|Destination||Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya|
British Airways Flight 2069 was a scheduled passenger flight operated by British Airways between Gatwick, England and Jomo Kenyatta Airport, Nairobi, Kenya. At 5 am on 29 December 2000, a mentally ill passenger stormed the cockpit and attempted to hijack the aircraft. Captain William Hagan and his crew were able to apprehend the assailant while first officer Phil Watson regained control of the aircraft, quickly bringing the situation under control.
Around 5 am local time, the cockpit of a Boeing 747-400 on a British Airways scheduled flight from Gatwick to Jomo Kenyatta Airport was stormed by a mentally unstable Kenyan passenger named Paul Mukonyi. Grabbing the yoke, he tried to execute a route change, which resulted in a struggle between him and First Officer Phil Watson that caused the aircraft to stall and plunge towards the earth. This struggle was joined by Captain Hagan, who had gone for a rest break just before the attack. Two passengers in the upper deck were able to assist in wrestling Mukonyi from the yoke. Violent pitch changes were responsible for minor injuries among four passengers; one of the stewardesses broke her ankle. After landing in Nairobi, Mukonyi was transferred to the authorities. The actions right after the apprehension were recorded on a video camera by the son of the English singer Bryan Ferry; both were passengers on the flight. Mukonyi was in fear of being followed and was trying to kill those whom he deemed to be a threat, i.e. the entire complement of passengers and crew.
Captain William Hagan and First Officers Phil Watson and Richard Webb were awarded a Polaris Award in 2001. Hagan was also given the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (RADAR) People of the Year award.
A group of 16 American passengers settled a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against British Airways. British passengers were offered compensation of £2,000 and a free ticket each. The actual compensation package from BA for British passengers included the cash amount of £2,000, free attendance on a "Fear of Flying" course at Birmingham airport, and a free ticket to anywhere in the world on the BA network. In 2013 a small group of British passengers attempted to bring a lawsuit against BA, but a legal case could not be made and their efforts came to naught.
- The aircraft was a Boeing 747-400 model; Boeing assigns a unique code for each company that buys one of its aircraft, which is applied as an infix to the model number at the time the aircraft is built. British Airways' code is "36", hence "747-436".
- Jeevan Vasagar; Vikram Dodd; Liz Stuart (30 December 2000). "Two-minute fight for BA2069". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- "BA jet plunges in cockpit struggle". BBC News. 30 December 2000. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- "Video of moments after BA pilot wrestled hijacker from controls". The Sun. London. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- Walters, Joanna (22 November 2006). "Passengers on jumbo terror flight to sue BA". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- IFALPA. "IFALPA Awards" (PDF). Retrieved 11 June 2013.