POLICE on Tuesday night arrested a 56-year-old owner of a bus and taxi company they believe was behind a bomb hoax that caused Larnaca airport to be evacuated for about 90 minutes during the morning.
He was identified from his phone number and police apprehended him at about 9pm.
The airport was evacuated after authorities received a telephoned bomb threat at around 9am. Police using sniffer dogs searched the building.
Around 300 staff and passengers who had not yet gone through passport control were asked to wait in the parking lot in the front of the building.
Passengers who had already gone through to the departure gates were escorted by police to the aircraft apron where they remained until the bomb squad gave the all clear at around 10.35am.
A suspicious object wrapped in plastic tape was found in the toilets in the arrivals area but it turned out to be a door handle.
Paphos airport was searched without being evacuated.
Reports said the call had been placed by a man who spoke English with an accent. He said a bomb would explode in 30 minutes.
A second call, believed to be from the same person, was placed a few minutes later saying a bomb was also placed at Paphos airport and was timed to go off in 30 minutes, reports said.
The communications ministry said it had been a “vague” threat that proved to be a hoax.
“The threat assessment teams took all the necessary measures after evaluating the credibility of the information received,” the ministry said in a statement.
Larnaca airport’s operation was affected to some extent, the ministry said, while Paphos remained unaffected.