Terror plot will impact local travelers

CNJ staff

Local travelers will notice differences in security when they fly out of regional airports due to heightened alerts related to Thursday’s terrorism scare in England.

Travelers are being asked to arrive about two hours ahead of their flight time and will not be permitted to carry any liquids with them on flights, a representative from the Lubbock International Airport said Thursday. Those traveling with infants will be permitted to carry formula and juice for their babies and liquid items can be carried in checked luggage, she said.

Those dropping off or picking up passengers at the Sunport in Albuquerque were told not to leave their vehicle under any circumstance on Thursday morning, The Associated Press reported.

Passengers appeared to be cooperating, but those who traveled from 5 to 6:30 a.m. had to wait an extra 15 to 20 minutes in line as officials learned of the new rules.

Officials at the Clovis Municipal Airport said there will be no change in their security operations because they do not fall under federal guidelines.

Airport Director Steve Summers said passengers departing from Clovis may face increased security if they have connecting flights at larger facilities.

The heightened security is a result of guidelines imposed by the Transportation Security Administration early Thursday morning after more than 20 alleged terrorists were arrested in England.

British authorities said Thursday they thwarted a terrorist plot to simultaneously blow up several aircraft heading to the U.S. using explosives smuggled in hand luggage, averting what police described as “mass murder on an unimaginable scale.”

Police arrested 21 people, saying they were confident they captured the main suspects in what U.S. officials said was a plot in its final phases that had all the earmarks of an al-Qaida operation. President Bush called it a “stark reminder” of the continued threat to the United States from extremist Muslims.