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-   -   BA Washington flights and security threats (merged) (https://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/113779-ba-washington-flights-security-threats-merged.html)

wbryce 1st Jan 2004 13:01

BA 744 Held on Runway for search at Washington?
Just arrived back from the Edinburgh Hogmanay party and heard this on the radio on the way back, desided to check pprune to see, but nothing posted, found it on bbc's website:

US police search BA aircraft

The 747 had arrived from London
A British Airways plane was held for security searches for three hours, after landing at Washington's Dulles airport on New Year's Eve.
The Boeing 747 arrived on Wednesday evening, with 247 passengers and 17 crew on board, Reuters reported.

US officials boarded the plane to interview passengers and check luggage.

The US has raised its national alert status to orange - the second-highest level - and six Air France flights to Los Angeles were cancelled last week.

US intelligence had warned of a "credible threat" from al-Qaeda operatives due to board a flight from Paris to Los Angeles.

French intelligence questioned several people booked on the suspended flights, but said they had found no links to militants, and flights were restarted.

Long delay

Flight BA 233 from London Heathrow landed at Dulles at 1906EST (0006GMT Thursday).

It was held in an area well away from the main terminal building, while officials from the FBI and the Transportation Security Agency boarded the plane.

It was over three hours before passengers were ferried to the arrivals building.

Officials did not say why the flight had been singled out for checks.

A spokeswoman from the Department for Homeland Security would only say the plane had been "detained... for further screening".

Anyone know why? obviously not a bomb scare of some sort otherwise the pax would be out in a shot.

And how can they detain a plane? will the original flight crew take control of the plane to park it at a designated spot? or just a Tug?

Also i heard it was intercepted by security vehicles on the runway where officials boarded the plane, this was mentioned on the radio.

NigelOnDraft 1st Jan 2004 16:31

You give away your complete lack of anything to do with Professional Aviation with the title of the thread:

BA 744 Held on Runway for search at Washington?
The chance it was held on the Runway are almost nil, since that would grind the airport to a halt. Even the BBC did not make that mistake!


Khaosai 1st Jan 2004 17:24

Hey NOD what a bizarre reply. The poor chap is just back from a wee party, obviously supped a few shandies so cut him some slack. Plenty other runways in IAD to be getting on with business, so I think a fair enough Q. Happy New Year.

wbryce 2nd Jan 2004 00:01

As i suspected NOD,

i can't expect a decent reply.

Maybe you should have called me a stupid **** for mis-interpretating information? As i said i heard it on the radio, i didn't phone up and challenge him with the average PPRune attitude that you show. In this world ANYTHING can happen, and YES that includes planes being held on the runways, yes very unlikely in the knowledge of the aviation world, but so was sept 11. I could also turn around to yourself and say the same, last night was New Years EVE, how busy would the airport be? again thanks for the Mister I KNOW IT ALL attitude, but please, dont bring it into any of my threads.

Maybe you can try and attack some of my spelling and grammer in any of my posts as you do seem that low.

It would be nice if people could reply on the subject and not try and flame me for a simple mistake.

Jim Morehead 2nd Jan 2004 00:42

wbryce.....thanks for posting the BA message and I, for one,appreciate it.

You just quoted what you heard and the public does report things like that in their lingo.

It didn't even occur to me that anyone was reading that word by word or letter by letter.

It is like we hear on the near that the pilot must have hit an air pocket or the engine just stalled accoring to qualified observers!!!

Don't let it worry you. I appreciated you taking the time to post!!!!

Happy New Year (I think it is happy new year EVERY PLACE in the world NOW!

peterbuckstolemymeds 2nd Jan 2004 01:54

wbryce, I would like you to know that even if you know nothing about "professional aviation" (:-)) I appreciated your post. Someone's not having a Happy New Year, I think.

That said, local newspapers are reporting that the Edinburgh Hogmanay Party you said you attended was officially cancelled due to the weather! You DID have a good night didn't you!?


cortilla 2nd Jan 2004 02:02

getting back to the original post. Heard on the news that officials interviewed every single passenger separately. The reason behind it was completely random (i.e. the just picked it out of a hat). According to the newsies more longhaul flights will randomly be stopped and searched before departure and after arrival (seems a bit silly once it's back on the ground why not let customs do their job). Come to think about it there probably was another reason for the search and this was just an excuse.

Airbubba 2nd Jan 2004 02:30

January 1, 2004

British Airways Cancels Flight to D.C.


Filed at 1:07 p.m. ET

LONDON (AP) -- British Airways canceled one of its three daily flights from London to Washington on Thursday following security advice from the government, a spokesman for the airline said.

A Department of Transport spokeswoman said she was unable to comment on matters of security or whether the cancellation was a result of a specific threat.

The same flight, BA 223, on Wednesday was kept on the tarmac at Washington Dulles International Airport for several hours shortly after landing. U.S. authorities questioned all passengers and crew on board, the spokesman said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The spokesman said alternative arrangements had been made for the 180 passengers on Thursday's flight, which had been scheduled to leave London's Heathrow airport at 10:05 a.m.

He added that neither of the two other daily flights to Washington had been canceled.

spannersatcx 2nd Jan 2004 03:15

NigelOnDraft just for your info, the airport I work at has 2 runways, an inbound international flt had received a specific bomb threat, guess what the authorities did?

That's right they held it on the runway and evacuated all the pax, the a/c was kept there for the bomb squad to do their checks and then several hours later once cleared the a/c was towed to the terminal and carried on to it's next destination.

The moral is 'never say never'

wbryce 2nd Jan 2004 03:23


I did have a good new years celebration, couldn't have been better, the Edinburgh hogmanay party was cancelled, but it didn't stop the partying! There was no countdown, nor was there fireworks, but a little rain can't spoil a festive spirit.

I may not know as much on professional aviation as you, I dont go about thinking im the dogs bollocks because i know more than someone else, i enjoy flying and i enjoy aviation, i like to use these forums as i enjoy reading and knowing about aviation, Im only 18years of age starting my professional training after a few life obsticals passes, so you will understand i dont have the knowledge base as your average pilot.

I posted this thread at 5am in the morning after a good night of partying, so sue me if i let my guard down for the wolfpack to strike :}

Back to the story,

thank you for the people who did post on the subject :)

And i hope yous continue to have a nice festive season.

bizflyer 2nd Jan 2004 03:56

CNN is now reporting that this same flight was escorted in by two fighters, further BA have today cancelled the same flight number to DC today at the request of 'the government'

akerosid 2nd Jan 2004 03:59

It has now emerged that last night's BA 223 was escorted by fighter aircraft and that today's BA 223 was cancelled. It appears that the names of about 12 people on last night's flight (31/12/) matched those on FBI watchlists.

Not quite as routine as BA suggested, but in fairness, they could not give out any more than the minimum information in circumstances like this.

cargo boy 2nd Jan 2004 04:32

Sure it wasn't becauses of a tip-off that there were armed men on board? Oops, they were the new armed sky marshalls as demanded by the TSA. :rolleyes: I thought they were the answer to all our worries. :hmm:

Roobarb 2nd Jan 2004 04:36

If they knew who these people were, why didnít they just ask us to offload them in London. If this is how they treat their friends, thank God were not on the ĎAxis of Evilí list!

Whose side are they on? :rolleyes:


Charlie Fox 2nd Jan 2004 05:27

BA Cancels Washington Flight
Is it not getting really stupid now???

News Link

BBC News

breguet 2nd Jan 2004 05:41

It is the level of stupidity that went from yellow to orange.

It seems that everything is done by the morons to keep the american citizens in a kind of paranoia about terrorist attacks.

It is the 5th time they raised the level to orange with nothing happening THANK GOD....

blueloo 2nd Jan 2004 06:04

Havent the terrorists won? They have caused paranoid fear in the US (then again they already were fairly paranoid). They have nearly paralysed the US aviation transport system (and nearly bankrupted it), caused a redneck warmongering illegally elected President to spend billions on a war (which will perpetuate terrorism) and numerous other side-effects............

Glad I dont live in the states!

Shuttleworth 2nd Jan 2004 06:14

blueloo - I agree with you ..

Skylion 2nd Jan 2004 06:14

To hold all passengers on board for 3 hours is clearly ludicrous. There must have been a good number who any elementary screening or profiling would have revealed in seconds, if not minutes, were of zero interest to the authorities. These could have been permitted to go on their way without further ado, leaving security people free to concentrate on those who might have merited more attention.

nurjio 2nd Jan 2004 06:20

Well said Blueloo; but, you offer no solution to the problem. Give us your ideas please?

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