Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 in Manila where the plane was delayed. Photo: Google Maps

A Filipino passenger was arrested for making a bomb joke while boarding his flight at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines.

On Thursday morning, Saidona Singgon was onboard a Philippine Airlines flight heading to Cotabato City in Mindanao when he said there was a bomb on the plane.

A group of passengers reported Singgon to the cabin crew, The Filipino Times reported.

The crew contacted the Philippine National Police Aviation Service Group, who arrested Singgon. According to a report by Philippine Daily Inquirer, the plane was supposed to take off at 7:30am but was delayed for seven hours because of Singgon’s remark.

Passengers were asked to leave the plane while authorities conducted a search. No bomb was found. The plane finally left at 2:20pm. Philippine Airlines (PAL) apologized to passengers affected by the delay.

“PAL apologizes for the inconvenience to the rest of the passengers, who had to disembark so that authorities could inspect the aircraft thoroughly,” PAL said.

Singgon may face a jail term of at least five years as well as a fine of PHP40,000 (US$748) if found guilty.