View Full Version : BA London-Riyadh Flight Canceled

3rd Jan 2004, 03:25
Don't know whom to blame this "overreaction" on but:

British Airways Cancels Saudi Flight

LONDON (AP)--British Airways has canceled its Saturday flight from London's Heathrow Airport to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, over security concerns, airline officials said.

It was the third time this week that the airline has canceled flights on security grounds; BA's afternoon flights to Washington's Dulles airport were canceled on Thursday and Friday.

In a statement Friday night, British Airways said Saturday's BA263 to Riyadh had been canceled along with the return flight from the Saudi Arabian city.

News reports said the airline had received news earlier in the day that gave grounds for security fears. No further details were immediately available.

AP-NY-01-02-04 1509EST


3rd Jan 2004, 05:54
Well, there's a happy crew then :)

3rd Jan 2004, 06:55
In a statement Friday night, British Airways said Saturday's BA263 to Riyadh had been canceled along with the return flight from the Saudi Arabian city.

Like to see how they could manage not to cancel the return flight in this case :ouch:

3rd Jan 2004, 06:59
two words



3rd Jan 2004, 07:10

British Airways

3rd Jan 2004, 08:34
Airbubba - I promise I didn't copycat you over on the big "merged" security thread. And you beat me by about 5 hours. I also am waiting for the connection from Riyadh to the White House - mayhap another pearl of wisdom from Michael Moore....

3rd Jan 2004, 15:01
[QUOTE]Don't know whom to blame this "overreaction" on /QUOTE]

err, so if you have credible evidence then that somebody intends to hijack the aircraft and crash it sept 11th style, then you wouldn't cancel the flight ? There's a hell of a lot more to this than what is being reported by the media.
Everybody watch their back's.

3rd Jan 2004, 17:16
<<Everybody watch their back>>
Good advice.

3rd Jan 2004, 20:44
Talking about overreaction... the cancellation of AF flights a few days ago was erroneous. The name of the six suspects on the passenger list sounded similar to names of terrorists. After a closer look they found out, that one of the "suspects" was a 5-year-old child. Of course you have to be suspicious, but you can definitely overreact...

don't ask me who's doing that :-))

3rd Jan 2004, 23:05
Is it better to Over react or under react? Most of aviation is built around over reacting! Would it really matter if you left without a generator? Could you operate your flight with one less green system hydraulic pump? Why not just head up to 410 on one pack... Nothing is gonna happen, and if it did you could just descend anyway...

After the reaming out that the FBI/CIA got over sept 11 expect ALL security/intelligence agencies to cover their asses faster than a new guy in D block...


Captain Sand Dune
4th Jan 2004, 07:01
Amazing how short peoples' memories have become!:rolleyes:
As much of an im******ance the delays/cancellations etc are, I am greatful for them as opposed to the alternative!
Don't blame those who are doing their job, blame those who caused it!:*

Andreas in SAF
4th Jan 2004, 07:16
I can understand the cancellation of BA flights to/from Saudi Arabia, since there seem to be external threats, like someone planning to attack the airplane from the outside.

But the Air France cancellations were purely due to certain names on the passenger list matching names of suspected terrorists.

Now-if, let's say, 6 names match - then what's wrong with pulling off these 6 people, together with any checked luggage of theirs?

And let the others go.

The same with the BA pax who were held at Washington Dulles the other day for 3 hours, after arrival.

One does not need to hold up 300 pax, because there are 2 or 3 specific suspects.

Unless the real goal is to create even more hysteria on Fox News.
2 or 6 pax taken off a flight warrants no report, several flights cancelled warrants at least 15 minutes every half hour.

The medias' re-election campaign for president Bush is in full swing.

4th Jan 2004, 10:22

The delay in getting the people off of the airplane in Dulles was due to the proper FBI people not being in position. This was not something that could be done by any tom dick and harry, and better to be safe than sorry...And before you ask where was the FBI, remember they are tasked with protecting ALL of America and they are half the size of the NYPD...

If you want to carry out intellegence and use it as a method of defeating terrorists, One of the things you are going to do is develop a list of names. You might not have anything other than the name (they don't submit for a permit to be a terrorist and provide photos and fingerprints in order to become a terrorist).

Unless you want to strip search EVERYONE, (unworkable) there are going to be problems like this. Unless you want blatant Racial profiling this will not be easy, and this sort of thing will happen...

If you want to complain about this, than you have absolutely no right to complain about 9/11 not being prevented.


4th Jan 2004, 11:05
Cancelling flights...speaks volumes about the confidence of those in charge towards the security procedures in place. I would have thought that if you were given a hint as to which part of the haystack to search, one would concentrate on that.

4th Jan 2004, 12:32
More than likely there were several young Arab males travelling on these flights whose backgrounds could not be checked, and it was not politically correct to single out these passengers, take them off the flight, and let the flight proceed with the remaining passengers.

Singling out particular passengers because they "looked suspicious" resulted in multimillion dollar lawsuits here in the US against some airlines in the past few years. As a result, it is now more politically correct to cancel the entire flight and ascribe the excuse of "security concerns" to the cancellation rather than risk the accusation of "racial profiling" and lawsuits in singling out one or two passengers.

4th Jan 2004, 15:52

this is, they allege , the reason for the BA flight to Washington delays

4th Jan 2004, 23:19

The link doesn't work. Could you summarize?


4th Jan 2004, 23:48
SHE BOMBER Jan 3 2004

A BA flight to Washington was cancelled at the last minute yesterday after an intelligence tip-off that a woman suicide bomber planned to blow up the plane over the US capital.

US security services told Scotland Yard the woman - almost certainly linked to al-Qaeda - intended to hide eight to 12 ounces of plastic explosive in her vagina.

She would then go to the toilet during the Boeing 747 flight, remove the material and detonate a blast that would down the aircraft.

The source said intelligence information indicated only that an attack was planned for "sometime over the holiday period".

Apparently, a particular BA flight number was at risk.

The source added: "Because the intelligence did not identify a passenger by name, it was decided to disrupt the plot by cancelling the flights."

Defence analyst Paul Beaver said: "We have got intelligence, I am told, that there was a plan to take the aircraft and destroy it over Washington or fly it into something."

In spite of it all I had to smile at the defence analyst's name.

5th Jan 2004, 00:22
The law can be altered by statute or US equivelant to permit any sort of profiling considered necessary. If this profiling were to include race AND it was in accordance with a specific law I cannot see how an aggrieved passenger could win a civil suit.

5th Jan 2004, 03:32

I have to give you a hat's off to your posting. Exactly right on. The TSA people and other airport security people on duty are taking away loads of junk from my toiletry bag, just because they have a list of forbidden articles posted in front of them.

In the U.S., the TSA crowd are mostly the same caliber high-school drop out crowd that used to work for the private security agencies just a little while back. Now they have a salary raise and a government pension, yet they have learned nothing in profiling a would-be terrorist.

Still, in the U.S., you keep reading about a number of cases where passengers have brought on board guns, Bowie knifes and corrosive solvents. I remember a posting a few years back out of Canada where a chemical leaked and actually burned a hole in the floor of the aircraft. Just imagine if that canister would have been under pressure.

These alerts and cancellations just show you that airport security at check in is only cosmetic and is only designed to deter the legitimate passenger who forgets to put his nail scissors in the checked baggage. And as for running shoes, my foot. Air Nikes can be transformed into pressure detonators and there is no need for this idiot chap flying from Paris to try to light his fuse with matches.

Then finally, you show up at security and declare that you have a pacemaker. If you're a suicide bomber, you just push the proper rib and you and the whole thing will go off.

All in all, I think your post brought at least some reality to this subject.

Ranger One
6th Jan 2004, 04:53
There was an interesting letter in 'The Independent' a couple of days ago, from a passenger who was on the cancelled Riyadh flight, describing how the cancellation was conducted:

Sir: Having experienced the armed police raid on Wednesday's BA flight to Riyadh I think that the police and BA must be pleased that the story appears to have been subsumed by the news of the cancelled transatlantic flights.

Being held at gunpoint for three hours in an airline departure lounge is not an everyday occurrence in Britain, thankfully. I am sure that the action was in our interest as passengers and in the pursuit of flight safety and the war on terror. However, one cannot get away from the suspicion, planted by the police, that the whole exercise was exactly that, an exercise.

The departure lounge was surrounded by uniformed armed officers. A plainclothes officer said he was from Special Branch and that we were to remain seated and not to use mobile phones and that trips to the toilet were to be under escort. He then explained that sniffer dogs were going to be deployed and that we would be searched and then questioned individually. There were around 30 officers present, all wearing flak jackets, and half were visibly armed.

Arab passengers were questioned at greater length than Europeans. When I was questioned I asked the officer the reason for the action and was told, "It was routine sir, we have done it to a number of airlines." After processing we were sent to a hospitality lounge and told that the flight was cancelled.

Having now arrived back in Riyadh, thanks to Saudi Airlines, minus my luggage, I feel insulted and angry. If there was a terrorist threat why can't the police admit it? Why treat people in this supercilious manner? Your reporter got "no comment" from Special Branch and BA were being "cagey". The aircraft had only 50-plus passengers - hardly a tempting terrorist target, but very convenient numbers for the police to handle.

Doesn't sound like an 'external threat' as a previous poster suggested. That doesn't call for holding all the pax in the lounge. More like they were looking for someone, couldn't be sure they hadn't found them, so cancelled the flight.

There definitely seems to be more going on than meets the eye... I agree with another poster: watch your backs.

I certainly don't subscribe to the writers notion that this was just an exercise.

BTW, good luck to any cop, Special Branch or otherwise, who tries to tell me I can't use my cellphone in such circumstances! I understand the reasoning, but this isn't a police state... yet.