View Full Version : US rejects KLM flight

10th Apr 2005, 21:20
A KLM flight with 278 pax from Amsterdam with destination Mexico has been rejected on Saturday to enter the US airspace just before entering Canadian airspace. It returned to AMS.

Apparently 2 passengers were the reason to reject the KLM flight. According KLM there were no reasons to reject the 2 passengers for this flight.

Remaining passengers arrived Mexico the next day with another a/c and apparently the 2 passengers continued to their destination via London.

10th Apr 2005, 23:05
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) – US authorities prevented a Dutch airliner from entering US airspace during a flight from Amsterdam to Mexico City because it deemed two people on board to be a security risk, the airline said Sunday.
The KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight was approaching the US border from Canada on Friday when it was told it would not be allowed into US airspace because of the two passengers, KLM spokesman Bart Koster said. Their names were not released.
The plane returned to Amsterdam. The airline’s Amsterdam to Mexico City flight resumed as normal on Saturday, without the two passengers, Koster said.
It was not known what happened to the two travelers singled out by US authorities. Koster said Dutch authorities did not consider them to be suspects, and they weren’t on any European no-fly lists. “I guess they went their way,” he said.
Koster said the incident was unique, since US and European no-fly lists are usually the same. 100953 apr 05GMT

11th Apr 2005, 10:02
Dutch politics are now also picking up on this story... in the Dutch lower house two parties are now asking whether it's "decent" to turn a 747-400 with 278 PAX around when it's already over Canada.

For those who can read Dutch:


Sorry, no English sources as yet :hmm:

Jorge Newberry
11th Apr 2005, 11:15
here you are

11th Apr 2005, 11:41
Bloody ridiculous. If two passengers are a problem, detain them upon landing and send them back on the return flight. Don't inconvenience the other 270 on board.

Hope the [email protected] who thought up this brilliant piece of forward thinking get his/her own extended long-haul flight in the near future... :rolleyes:

11th Apr 2005, 12:03
The rest of the world is simply not "gezellig" enough , I'm telling you!

I aggree 100% A-FLOOR. There are things you don't do in a normal world but Holland and the rest of Europe, I might add, still do not feel like they are part of the war on terror. My point is that the world is not normal anymore, the rules have changed.

We now live in a world where people do fly airliners into buildings and the Dutch, the French and others who don't identify with Americans, had better question how they would react after the Eiffel tower the Louvre or the Rijksmuseum had been levelled.

Hey Dik, the world isn't "gezellig" anymore!

11th Apr 2005, 12:35
Am i missing something here???? So even if an aircraft over flies the states and has no intention of landing in US territory whatsoever, then they still have the right to refuse entry?

Maybe Mexico is part of the US territory now???

And what about BA flights that use a westerly route down to South America because of head winds, as they may need to overfly US waters as well, does that count?

On the same lines - I wonder if PIA had had any problems like this with their flights to the US? After all there would be plenty of 'Middle eastern' names on the manifest.

11th Apr 2005, 12:36
It's a pity that the US Government didn't take such a firm stance when IRA fundraisers were flying the Atlantic regularly a few years back - maybe they still are.

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter!!

11th Apr 2005, 12:41
When will those mad US authorities be stopped?


11th Apr 2005, 12:49

Does this mean that not only flights with destinations in the US have thier passenger lists submitted to the Dept of Homeland Security but also all overflights. Does this check include polar flights crossing Alaska, flights overflying Hawii, Puerto Rico etc?

Didn't the KLM flight have to land to refuel?

11th Apr 2005, 13:32
If the flight was taken over whilst over US territory, that 747 would have been turned into yet another guided missile aimed at the heart of America. It doesn't have to be only landing in the US to be a threat. It is still sensitive times after some 2500 people were killed just a few years ago. They have the right to decline having that aeroplane over their territory for safety reasons. It is perfectly reasonable. I'm afraid because of the US being at the forefront of the fight against terrorism, they have the right to be additionally on guard- the rest of the world will have to learn to live with it.

Dave Gittins
11th Apr 2005, 13:45
So does Homeland Security have the right to halt a flight that if taken over might have the range to get to the US ??

Say Buenos Aries to Havana or Rio de Janeiro to Tenerife ???

Mind boggling

11th Apr 2005, 14:37
What a complete waste of fuel and money!!

Would be saying, well sorry, but you guys would have had plenty of time to tell us you didn't like out passenger list, even before the plane left the ground. I wonder how soon before flying that the 2 passengers were listed on the flight. Sometimes I wonder whether some of the reactions are just knee jerk, or a publicity compaign on part of the US government to "pretend" that they are doing something to decrease the risk of terrorism. I honestly don't think that you are ever going to stamp out the risk, as it will always be there, you just have to calculate it into whether it is an acceptable risk or not.

11th Apr 2005, 14:38
Why not scramble some F16's, escort the 747 and land at nearest (millitary) US apt and get them 2 guys? By this way you're sure it won't be missiled into a US building, apprehend 2 terrorists at the same time and delay will only be a few hours.

Big question for the KLM, how did the US knew the pax list from a flight which had no US destination. This is not supposed to happen. KLM is therefore asking the US authorities for explanation.

The unthinkable is that the US wants to know my CC details, so they can check how I spend my money. WOT?? They already want that??

News is that it concerned 2 Saudi Arabian citizins, which continued their journey through London, where apparently they're not listed as terrorists. Maybe it's about time "the list" is updated regularly with countries concerned?

11th Apr 2005, 14:42
There's a cynic in me which reckons these "incidents" might be nothing more than an agency's attempt to justify its existence.

As I understand it, the U.S. agencies require access to passenger information for flights with U.S. destinations - are they also entitled to pax info for all flights which merely overfly U.S. territory?

11th Apr 2005, 14:44
Do US domestic flights have their pax manifests checked too?

11th Apr 2005, 14:45

Are you a card carrying GOP member ?:} Whilst I agree that some may think it is a very different world, common-sense must prevail.

Irrespective of the emotion and politics (e.g. how many people have been killed/murdered/tortured in Iraq ? How many innocent bystanders were murdered by the IRA and the US politicians still threw money at them ?) it basically comes down to common-sense, and the idiotic decisions made by face-less bureaucrats given too much power in turning back a 744 on the latter stages of its flight...

The paranoia and insanity continues..

11th Apr 2005, 14:57
The paranoia and insanity continues..

Absolutely. If the world's tourists were to avoid the country and spend their money elsewhere perhaps the U.S. authorities would have to reconsider their idiotic policies. What a bunch of goons.

After 40 plus visits in the last 25 years, I no longer go on vacation there since a while.

neil armstrong
11th Apr 2005, 15:01
I hope KLM can claim the cost back from who ever in the US!
They live in a dream world where they think they can rull the world!
Its about time we put W Bush on a no fly list! to much hassle having him come over with all his security BS!
Let him use the phone next time he wants to discuss something.


11th Apr 2005, 15:24
From reading bewteen the lines, as KLM says that the US does not have access to passenger lists for flights not flying to a US destination, one might correctly infer that these two Saudi's were under surveillance and that is how US authorities knew they were on the plane.

What one might also infer is the the US was not in a position to continue surveillance of these individuals once they arrived in Mexico, so decided to try and prevent their landing there. As there is no indication that these two individuals were on a particular Saudi, Dutch, or British watch list, the US action has probably tipped them off that they are being watched.

If these individuals were not on a Saudi, Dutch, or British watch list as posing a potential danger to aviation, it may be that they were not seen by US authorities as potential hijackers, etc., but simply as persons of interest.

11th Apr 2005, 16:09
What one might also infer is the the US was not in a position to continue surveillance of these individuals once they arrived in Mexico, so decided to try and prevent their landing there. Perhaps, but given the aforementioned level of paranoia, one might also infer there was concern they might try some bad-guy business aboard whilst in US airspace, hence the decision to turn them back... :(

11th Apr 2005, 16:13
Leaving aside whether the US' action was justified (although you can probably guess my opinion), why not divert to Canada dump the 'offenders' then carry on ? OK if those passengers were not admissable into Canada as well, then KLM would have had to transport them back to the Netherlands but they have scheduled daily service. A GC route suggests that any of YHZ, YUL or YYZ would not have been very far off track. Wonder if this was the Capt's call or some umm... diplomatic decision by a REMF :uhoh:

11th Apr 2005, 16:27
By the time the flight would have landed in Canada and their baggage was located and all the containers offloaded and onloaded, refueled and ready to go, the crew would not be! So you have to get 300 odd people to hotels (and back again), get the crew rested, then continue? Easier to fly back 7 hours to home base and start again!

Bit naughty of somone to question my politics! Does nobody understand the reluctance of the authorities to accept this flight traversing the States, north to south? Why should they track it with F16s when they can say 'bugger off with those people on board- we are not risking having them over our territory!'. Have we forgotten 911 so easily?

11th Apr 2005, 16:35
How quickly we forget, eh?

While I agree, this particular incident seems a bit odd, as usual we probably don't have all the facts.

Of course the U.S. has the right to turn away any flight over its territory. Remember when France and Spain made the F111's fly around their countries instead of over, on their way to Libya? Which brings up a pertinent point that someone else touched on. Europe, with the exception of UK, still does not get it. Terrorism is treated as a nonproblem. Even in '86, the only other country to understand the extent of the problem was England. Did someone mention the IRA? Libya had been showing more and more support for international terrorist groups such as the IRA, the Basque Separatists, terrorist leader Abu Nidal, and had even harbored the "Black September" terrorists that had kidnapped and killed 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team in Munich 1972. Libya was linked to the hijacking of TWA 847, a 727 hijacked and held on the ground in Beirut, Lebanon for weeks, resulting in the death of US Navy diver Robert Steadham. The Libyan regime was known to be both harboring and training international terrorists at over 20 facilities and camps within its borders. And, let's not forget Lockerbie. And, then there was the Discoteque boming in '86 which resulted in the F111 action. France and Spain (among others) were still blind to the rising threat, and still are, in spite of the train bombing.

You see, I, for one, unlike many of my countrymen, understand that Europe has been dealing with a low-intensity threat of terrorism for many decades. However, if one looks at a timeline of terrorism since the 70's, the U.S. has been the target of most attacks (in fact, I'm actually surprised at how many there've been), which is why, when I was verbally attacked by an Irish woman for the U.S. action in Afghanistan, I responded by asking her, "when was the last time you saw video of Arabs chanting, 'Death to Ireland?'" Nuff said.

Fire away, Chaps.

Serious question for 767yyz: Do you have evidence or even internet information that corroborates your assertion that US politicians "threw money" at the IRA? If so, I want to see it. I'm not insinuating I'm going to defend American politicians -- I just am unfamiliar with your assertion and like to know all sides; for future arguments, you see :)

Few Cloudy
11th Apr 2005, 16:46
There must be more to it than that - no-one tankers seven hours of fuel on a nine hour trip. Why did they have all that fuel on board unless they had some inclination?

Also how did they get it on with the pax load quoted? Anyone got the relevant figures please?


11th Apr 2005, 16:52
CNN says: U.S. anti-terrorism laws require airlines to provide passenger manifests to the U.S. government before their planes enter U.S. airspace.

Source: cnn (http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/04/10/klm.flight/index.html)

But another article says

AMSTERDAM — Dutch airline KLM has demanded the US explain how it gained insight into passenger details of a flight US authorities turned back from its airspace despite the fact it was not scheduled to land on American territory.

source: expatica (http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=19&story_id=18915&name=Dutch+question+why+USrefused+entry+to+KLM+plane+)

Who to believe?

11th Apr 2005, 17:09
Who to believe?

NOT the yanks, thats for certain!

Where's the WMD?

pax britanica
11th Apr 2005, 17:16
As far as I know US airspace extends along long way out from the USA - Bermuda for example while nominally a British Dependent Territory (PC for colony) is entirely in NY airspace and all the airspace along the easternseaboard out as far as Bermuda would seem to be classed as sucj

In this case if the Americans are suspicious then what did is sensible since theres no difference between a terminating flight and a transiting flight if there are people with evil intent on board
and the issue would appear to be why the watch lists didnt match up

As for the crusading about leading the war on terrorism well theres no doubt the US plays a large part but thats more instigator of terror than defender. As someone noted there didnt seem to be too many /defenders of democracy' around when the IRA were clollecting money in Boston Bars and killing and maiming women and children in UK


11th Apr 2005, 17:31
Whilst a country may administer airspace stretching out from its borders, surely its territorial limit extends only to 12 miles off the coast?

I've been hassled in International Airspace in the past by people who thought that the airspace was 'theirs' - but when we were intercepted off Tenerife once, the fighters hauled off at exactly 12 miles from their coastline.

11th Apr 2005, 17:52
As for the crusading about leading the war on terrorism well theres no doubt the US plays a large part but thats more instigator of terror than defender.
Breathtaking in its stupidity! Remembering the many people who died in 911, on the Cole, in the disco bombings, the previous WTC bomb, the many soldiers who died restoring freedom to Afghanistan and Iraq, the hijackings, may you be forgiven for that daft remark!

11th Apr 2005, 18:54
You have a short memory! Remember when they put a bomb on that TWA 727 that exploded near Cephalonia? Two attempts at the WTC? Various US citizens killed in various hijackings/sabotage? Bombs in discos? The Cole? It seems to have escaped your (and several others) attention that there is a war going on out there, and I, for one, know who the good guys are, and they are the ones who've provided the umbrella of protection I've been able to grow up and prosper under in Europe- just as you have! Otherwise, we'd have been speaking Russian from 20 years ago.
They've taken a hell of a hit, and suddenly their 'friends' are looking the other way. The English speaking world has provided limited support in this fight, most of the former beneficiaries of the protective umbrella seem to have found other things more important at the moment! Well in view of the fact that just recently 2500 people were killed in a terrorist attack in New York, I think we can bear to have patience until they sort this matter out!

11th Apr 2005, 19:49
Dear Dumbledore and zehutiman,

Are you guys just ignorant or just stupid?

Get your facts straight before you talk!
The Netherlands (unlike the French and Germany) is BIGTIME involved on the war on terror.
We do have soldiers in Iraq FIGHTING right now (and lost some too)
We do have soldiers in Afghanistan Fighting right now (and lost some)

Guess who helped patrolling New York Airspace sept 12 2001?? Exactly.. Dutch airforce.

So please get educated before you speak. Thanks


11th Apr 2005, 21:24
I had this thought, see, about how the US got the info, then I noticed that the original topic was closed. With a prayer that I don't get ultra-flamed (you know, like by one of Jerricho's well-constructed, four-word death phrases), let me slip away from the emotional stuff for a moment and make an observation.

Without taking a position on the propriety of the events…

Although it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with this particular incident, I believe that Mexico has a program in place similar to the US passenger manifest rules, and shares some or all of that information with the US. If I recall, there is a specific provision for providing the US with info on passengers entering Mexico on aircraft from US airspace. If that’s the case, it could help explain how the US got the overflight passenger info.

What’s more, assume that the US can’t legally stop an overflight destined for another country on the basis of “no-fly” passengers (whether or not this is true). If Mexico isn’t going to let the aircraft land in Mexico, then there’s no reason to let the aircraft into US territorial airspace given the fact that the aircraft had these guys on it and wouldn’t be allowed to land in the US anyway. In that case, overflight is not really the issue. If Mexico says to the US, “don’t bother sending that KLM down our way because we’re not going to allow it to land”, the US is going to ask, “is there something we need to know about this flight?” Mexico will say, “Yes. It has these two ‘no-fly’ types on it named X and Y.” If X and Y are also on the US list, then the US will turn the aircraft away before the Canadian border.

I’m not speculating as much as I am simply trying to make sense of what happened here by fleshing-out possibilities.


11th Apr 2005, 21:55
I would like to add that not only the US have some concern for their national security but also e.g. Mexico. We tend to forget that under the 'Separatistic Umbrella' and often financed by drugs there are unfriendly people trying to gain pwoer without elections, and such forces are known to operate in Mexico's south. Unfortunately such movements are operational in many South American countries, and there have been proof for links to both European 'Separatist Movements' as well as arabic 'freedom fighters'. And usually the contact persons between such groups don't swim.

As painful and regretful for the passengers of the mentioned flight the exercise was, I believe that continous caution (with admittedly some mistakes to be happening) is better than the 'blue eyes, pink glasses' approach. We may not like it, but do we have another realistic choice?

Ranger One
11th Apr 2005, 21:57

Nice theory, but it's refuted by the fact that the two verbotten pax were allowed to fly on to Mexico via London the following day (according to the original report)...


11th Apr 2005, 22:28
The sad thing is that most if not all targets who have been involved in terrorist bombing, hijacking, or other terrorist actions have been either "soft" targets or US National means.

All(most) effected airliners have been of US Reg. So; why all the cloak and dagger around the Non-US airliners?

Could it be simply translated as "protectionism"? I don't know, but are we dancing to the wrong tune? in which dictionary does it translate "colonialism" into "liberator"? I think these discussions belong somewhere else indeed but by the recent actions it has entered our arena.

Don't mix Bushism with aviation, please! v1r8 is completely right, but it is so convenient to ignore the fact's isn't it?

elect a president on his Knowledge and academic merits instead of on the basis of fear and the world would be a better place. ( sorry I cloud not resist in putting this here, I know it’s off-topic) And I know it does not always work (look at the UK)

Yes the US should have all the rights to refuse any A/C from their airspace, but only for the right reasons. The question is… are two individuals without any immediate threat enough reason? Not for any UK originated flights, or where ever they went. Even though it has been speculated that they where under surveillance, the moreover no reason to refuse in that phase of the flight.

11th Apr 2005, 22:37
Nice theory, but it's refuted by the fact that the two verbotten pax were allowed to fly on to Mexico via London the following day (according to the original report)...

Furthermore - if the two were genuinely intent on abducting the plane for a mission, they could have as well picked a YYZ-bound flight (e.g.) and diverted it to the US.

The closer we move to a global security solution, the more successful we'll become.

11th Apr 2005, 23:20
The ones you gotta feel sorry for is the 15 horses who were right back in AMS after almost 12 hours in the air. :sad:

12th Apr 2005, 04:08
Does anyone remember that just a few months ago a BA flight bound for the US was diverted to Maine to nab super-terrorist Cat Stevens. Ridicule does not kill but it does hurt the economy. Iberia closed its Miami hub because of all the security related problems linked with flying through Miami. Many simulator companies lost business and are considering moving their simulators overseas because of restrictions put on foreiners needing to train in the US. You see its hard for a foreign pilot to train in a simulator in the US, be he needs no US security clearance whatsoever to fly his airplane over the US as long as his simulator was overseas, say in Amman or Dubai. But like I wrote before, ridicule in this case only kills the US economy. Ben Laden must get tickled pink every time he read about stuff like this.

12th Apr 2005, 07:36
CNN report (http://edition.cnn.com/2005/US/04/11/klm.flight/index.html)

..............U.S. officials said Mexico provided the names after accessing the KLM list and comparing it with a list of suspected terrorists. Such sharing of information is allowed under U.S.-Mexican security agreements, they said.

An official with the Department of Homeland Security said the agency is considering an emergency amendment that would require airlines to check transiting flights' passenger manifests against the list.

In the meantime, the official said, if the United States determines that a flight scheduled to fly over the country is carrying a passenger on the "no-fly" list, it will be prohibited from entering U.S. airspace.

Robert Vesco
13th Apr 2005, 12:57
Strange that this topic has been moved to jet blast.

Hardly a laughing/fun event... :(

In the slot
13th Apr 2005, 14:45
I suggest a few countries start turning american flights back to the USA. How about Maastricht control telling a united airlines flight from Los Angeles, that it must return to the USA?? Seems we owe them a few diversions??

Oh, but I forgot one thing, BLAIR with his special relationship, would welcome an inadmissable aircraft to LHR with open arms, or if not, the emerald isle would surely welcome their trans atlantic funders of IRA terrorsim!!!

About time there is some tit for tat in many areas, this is the only way you can make heavy handed americans listen, by tasting some of their own medicine!

Fly safe gentlemen!

El Grifo
13th Apr 2005, 18:05
I fly all over the world on various qualities of airlines with various qualities of aircraft when plying my trade.

This weekend, I have to fly Madrid to Miami and then on to Montego Bay on American Airlines.

I have never been more apprehensive in my life.

I carry hand-luggage of a Laptop and a bag of Digital cameras with associated electronica.

I am concerned about boarding, I am concerned about the flight, I am doubly concerned about transiting through Miami and I am wondering if I am ever going to get there at all.

Are they in the habit of turning back their own, or is that an honour only bestowed on foreigners.

My sigh of relief on arriving in Jamaica will be heard round the planet.