|Quoting max999 (Reply 171):|
The airfields which are big enough to safely land a 777 would most likely be near some kind of population. And even in many developing countries, cell phone coverage is widespread enough that small population centers get a cell tower.
The extremely remote and unpopulated locations without cell coverage are not likely to have airfields which are big enough to land a 777.
To repeat myself, I personally do not consider a terrorism scenario that involved landing somewhere with optional later a/c re-use likely. At all. However, you are making it a bit too easy for yourself with your statements.
The trouble about terrorism is that the perpetrators are at liberty to only strike once everything aligns perfectly for them. And only at a target that happens to present itself really well. Bonus points if they do something completely new that no one was expecting at all, like this event (if it indeed was an abduction-followed-by-a-landing).
The radius in which the a/c could have landed is huge, and involves quite a number of rather inhospitable and/or sparsely populated areas with flat areas that could be prepared to land a 777. And if some organisation was behind this, you would have a team on the ground waiting for the a/c to show up. The airfield does not even have to be in an area without cellphone coverage: you just have to disable/interrupt said coverage for a few hours. And please don't tell me that cellphone tower failures are so rare that one would immediately trigger all sorts of alerts. Especially if it magically went back to normal sooner or later.
Or to put this differently: they potentially had years searching for the right place to put the ship down after abducting it. Chances are that if you were given a lot of time, you'd also be able to find something suitable in the huge radius around the last known position. Sure, such sites are rare - but you have time. Lots of it. And you only give the go ahead once you have found one. If you look at it this way, it pretty much removes the "not likely" angle. At least as far as availability of airfields is concerned.[Edited 2014-03-14 10:51:30]
[Edited 2014-03-14 10:52:03]