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Airports on High Alert Following Foiled Terrorist Plot

8/10/2006

Airports on High Alert Following Foiled Terrorist Plot
August 10, 2006 - Today, British authorities announced that they have foiled a terrorist plot to blow up passenger aircraft flying between Britain and the United States. Officials have arrested more than 20 suspects after learning of possible plans to use explosives smuggled in carry-on luggage.

Britain's threat warning level has been raised to "critical," indicating that an attack is expected imminently. The U.S. threat level has been raised to the highest level of "severe," or red, for commercial flights originating in the United Kingdom bound for the United States, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The threat level has been raised to "high," or orange for all commercial flights operating in or coming to the United States.

One government official said the terrorists had hoped to target flights to major airports in New York, Washington, D.C., and California.

The targeted airlines were British Airways, United Airlines, American Airlines and Continental Airlines.

NTA will continue to keep you updated and below we have posted links to helpful information such as what you can expect at the airports. If NTA can assist you in anyway, please contact Sara Morton at 800.682.8886 or 859.226.4418 or via e-mail at sara.morton@NTA.travel.

Airline Delays and Cancellations
American Airlines canceled six flights today between the United States and London to accommodate the delays at Heathrow airport, spokesman John Hotard said.

American stopped three London-bound morning flights, one each from Chicago, Boston and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. To balance those cancellations, the airline also dropped three afternoon or evening flights scheduled to travel from London to those U.S. cities, Hotard said.

Hotard said the remaining 13 flights in each direction were expected to run from one-and-a-half to three-and-a-half hours late.

For a complete list of canceled flights from the United Kingdom to the United States, click here.

What you can expect at the airport:
In the United States:
"Travelers should go about their plans confidently, while maintaining vigilance in their surroundings and exercising patience with screening and security officials," Chertoff said.

Delta Air Lines spokesman Anthony Black said that operations would continue normally and there would be no flight cancellations. But Delta was expecting delays on flights coming from the United Kingdom because of heightened security there, Black said.

All travelers on commercial U.S. carriers should be advised of the following changes to airport screening procedures:

  • No liquid or gels of any kinds will be permitted in carry-on baggage. Items must be in checked baggage.
  • This includes all beverages, shampoo, sun tan lotion, creams, tooth paste, hair gel, and other items of similar consistency.
  • Exception: Baby formula and medicines must be presented for inspection at the checkpoint.
  • Beverages purchased in the boarding area (beyond the checkpoint) must be consumed before boarding because they will not be permitted on board the aircraft.

Passengers traveling from the U.K. to the U.S. will be subject to a more extensive screening process.

These measures will be constantly evaluated and updated when circumstances warrant.

In Britain:
According to the BBC, all short-haul inbound flights to Heathrow airport have been cancelled. Some flights in and out of Gatwick have been suspended. British Airways canceled all short haul flights in or out of Heathrow Airport for Thursday.

The Department of Transport has asked all UK airports to apply additional security measures designed to ensure passenger safety.

These measures will prevent passengers from carrying hand luggage into the cabin of an aircraft with the following exceptions (which must be placed in a plastic bag):

  • Pocket size wallets and pocket size purses plus contents (for example money, credit cards, identity cards, etc. Not handbags.
  • Travel documents essential for the journey (for example, passports and travel tickets)
  • Prescription medicines and medical items sufficient and essential for the flight (e.g. diabetic kit), except in liquid form unless verified as authentic
  • Spectacles and sunglasses, without cases
  • Contact lens holders, without bottles of solution
  • For those traveling with an infant: baby food, milk (the contents of each bottle must be tasted by the accompanying passenger)
  • Sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight (nappies, wipes, creams and nappy disposal bags)
  • Female sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight, if unboxed (e.g. tampons, pads, towels and wipes) tissues (unboxed) and/or handkerchiefs
  • Keys (but no electrical key fobs)

All passengers must be hand searched, and their footwear and all the items they are carrying must be x-rayed.

Pushchairs and walking aids must be x-rayed, and only airport-provided wheelchairs may pass through the screening point.

In addition to the above, all passengers boarding flights to the United States and all the items they are carrying, including those acquired after the central screening point, must be subjected to secondary search at the boarding gate. Any liquids discovered must be removed from the passenger.

Passengers are asked to be patient while these additional security measures are put in place. Delays are likely and passengers are therefore asked to allow extra time for their journey.

For more information on the new security measures outlined by the BAA, click here.

How every passenger can assist in security:

  • Pack lightly, without clutter to facilitate easier screening
  • Arrive at least two hours early at the airport
  • Cooperate with TSA personnel at checkpoints and at all gates
  • Be attentive and vigilant to any suspicious activity and report it to authorities
  • TSA Contact Center Phone 866.289.9673 or e-mail tsa-contactcenter@dhs.gov
For more information:
  • http://www.cnn.com/ - CNN News (for the most timely news and information)

     

  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/ - BBC News (for direct news from the United Kingdom)

     

  • http://www.faa.gov/ - Federal Aviation Administration (for the latest airport status and updates on carry-on restrictions)

     

  • http://www.dhs.gov/ - Department of Homeland Security (for current information on U.S. security levels)

     

  • http://www.tsa.gov/ - Transportation Security Administration (for current information on U.S. security levels and updates on carry-on restrictions)

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