[Archive Home][Date Prev][Date Next][Index]
"Airports across the globe tighten security"
Friday, August 11, 2006
Airports across the globe tighten security
Australia - The Sydney Morning Herald
Airports worldwide have bolstered security after British police foiled a
plot to blow up passenger jets to the US with explosives hidden in hand
Britain and the US immediately raised their nationwide terrorist alerts to
the highest possible level, although Washington said there was no evidence
"of plotting in the US" itself.
This was the first time that Britain had been put on maximum alert,
signifying that an attack was still "imminent".
British police said they had arrested 24 people in connection with a plot
"to commit mass murder on an unimaginable scale" but the domestic security
service, MI5, warned there was still "a serious and sustained threat from
international terrorism to the UK and UK interests overseas".
Airports worldwide beefed up security measures on passengers and luggage
travelling to and from Britain and the US, causing travel delays and flight
cancellations on all five continents and leaving many passengers stranded.
London's Heathrow airport, one of the busiest in the world, was badly hit.
An official with the European air traffic control coordinator Eurocontrol
said that most European flights bound for London had not taken off.
Britain's National Air Traffic Services grounded a number of flights but the
British Airports Authority, which runs Heathrow and six other airports, said
the restrictions have now been lifted.
Many British airlines cancelled all remaining flights, despite the green
light to fly once again.
British Airways said it had cancelled about 400 flights, mainly domestic and
short haul, from Heathrow and London Gatwick.
Normally it flies about 820 flights out of these two airports on a typical
Passengers on all planes leaving British airports, including on domestic and
transit flights, were banned from taking hand luggage on board other than
essential items such as money, tickets, keys, medicine and spectacles,
though without the cases.
Apart from baby milk, which had to be tasted, all liquids were forbidden.
The US raised the threat level for incoming commercial flights from Britain
to "severe or red", the highest US level.
It banned all liquids "including beverages, hair gels and lotions" on
outgoing planes and asked foreign operators to impose the same ban on
flights into the US.
Draconian hand luggage restrictions similar to those imposed by London and
Washington were introduced in Australia, Canada, Ghana, Kenya, Hungary,
Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland and by a number of individual
airlines, such as US carrier Delta and Austrian Airlines.
In Ottawa, officials even stopped the sale of coffee or other drinks beyond
airport security checkpoints, according to reports.
Border officials at land crossings between Canada and the US were also on
Elsewhere in Asia and Europe, airport authorities ramped up security patrols
and X-ray checks, in some cases scanning passengers' shoes, while sniffer
dogs searching for explosives padded up and down hallways.
Countries affected included Argentina, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark,
France, India, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Thailand and Spain, where 191
people died in an extremist attack on trains in 2004.
French authorities announced random searches on cross Channel Eurostar train
services connecting Paris and Brussels to London while Paris airport
authorities warned travellers heading to Britain, Israel and the US to
arrive early to complete the extra security checks in time.
Italy boosted surveillance around "sensitive sites, particularly buildings
that could be associated with the United Kingdom", although Prime Minister
Romano Prodi told reporters he did not see any particular threat to Italy
A year after the September 11 attacks in 2001 in the US, the European Union
agreed to boost security at airports across the bloc.
But it said individual members could bring in more draconian measures where
Britain introduced its new terror alert system in 2003 but only began making
its threat levels public last week.
The warning level was lowered from "severe" to "substantial" just before
four suicide bombers blew themselves up on London's transport network in
July 2005, killing a total of 56 people.
After that attack the alert level was cranked back up to "severe".
Home Secretary John Reid said he hoped the British public would be
"reassured" rather than panicked by the imposition of the "critical" alert.
Canadian flight makes unscheduled landing
A suspicious package forced an Air Canada flight to the United States to
make an unscheduled landing on Thursday with jittery air travelers on high
alert after British police foiled a plot to bomb several airlines.
The Air Canada flight to Reagan Washington National Airport from Montreal
was diverted to Baltimore after the pilot reported a suspicious package on
board, U.S. Transportation Security Administration and Baltimore/Washington
International Airport said.
"The plane has been parked in a remote area and the passengers were
offloaded and it was searched," an airport spokeswoman said.
The flight landed about 4 p.m. (2000 GMT).
TSA spokeswoman Yolanda Clark said the package was found to be a box of
plates and trays.
Suspicious material also delayed passengers on a JetBlue flight when it
arrived in Austin from Boston, airline spokesman Bryan Baldwin said.
He said local authorities interviewed the passengers and crew, but no one
Local media reported the suspicious material was a note written in a foreign
Do you have an opinion about this story?
Share it with other readers in our CAA Discussion Forums
Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
If you have any queries regarding this issue, please Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org