An Australian man was charged Tuesday with making a fake bomb threat on a flight to Malaysia, terrifying passengers and causing havoc in the country's airspace.

The Malaysia Airlines flight from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur was forced to turn back Monday afternoon when the agitated man started claiming he had "explosives" in his backpack, police said.

Police said the 45-year-old, who was arrested after the plane returned to Sydney, has been charged with one count of making a false statement about a threat to damage an aircraft.

They had earlier stressed the incident posed no "impending threat to the community" -- although it did cause 32 domestic flights to be cancelled and created lengthy delays for others.

The man has also been charged with one count of not complying with cabin crew's safety instructions, the Australian Federal Police added.

"The AFP will not divulge operational matters, however, an emergency response plan was enacted and an evacuation was initiated once it was deemed safe for passengers and crew."