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Updated: December 27, 2009 10:55 IST

U.S. airports step up security after failed plane attack

PTI
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Airport police search a vehicle entering Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday. Aviation security officials worldwide stepped up security after an attempted Christmas Day terrorist attack on a flight from Europe to Detroit. Photo: AP
AP Airport police search a vehicle entering Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday. Aviation security officials worldwide stepped up security after an attempted Christmas Day terrorist attack on a flight from Europe to Detroit. Photo: AP

All major airports in the US and all America-bound flights around the world have been put on extra security vigil following a failed attempt to destroy a Detroit bound plane.

Against this backdrop, the US has asked airlines worldwide to tighten security on all flights to the country.

President Barack Obama has called for “all appropriate measures” to be taken in the wake of the incident.

American Airlines says the US Transportation Security Administration has issued “new security measures for all flights departing from any foreign location to the US“.

A Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdul Mudallab allegedly tried to blow up Northwest Airlines aircraft carrying 278 passengers and 11 crew members. He was overpowered by fellow passengers before he could detonate explosives on Christmas day.

The passengers are also being put through additional security checks at the airports. Airlines are applying enhanced security measures both outside and inside the plane.

“Passengers may notice additional screening measures put into place to ensure the safety of the travelling public on domestic and international flights,” Homeland Security spokesperson Sara Kuban said in a statement here.

“We encourage the travelling public to be observant and aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious behaviour to law enforcement officials,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, the British Airways on its website said the United States has revised its security arrangements for all customers travelling into the US.

“Please be aware that due to these revised security arrangements for all customers departing on a flight from Heathrow or Gatwick to the US only one item of hand luggage is allowed,” the British airlines said in a statement.

Air Canada advised its passengers going to the US to arrive early at airports to allow extra time to clear security screening.

“Passengers should also expect flight delays, cancellations and missed connections, and limit themselves to a single piece of carry-on baggage,” an advisory on Air Canada’s website said. It also notes that during the final hour of the flight, all passengers must remain seated and no personal items will be allowed in their laps.

President Obama, on a Christmas break in Hawaii, has been informed of the situation and has called for heightened security aboard all planes flying in and out of the US, the White House said.

“The president is actively monitoring the situation and receiving regular updates,” a spokesperson said, noting that Obama had “instructed that all appropriate measures be taken to increase security for air travel.”

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