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How the terror alert has affected individual airports

11.08.06

UK airports have been gripped by chaos as new stringent security measures were imposed yesterday in the wake of the foiled jet bomb plot. Passengers at airports across the country are still facing long delays as travellers were banned from carrying hand luggage and told to take essential items onto flights in plastic bags.

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said the government hoped the current hand baggage restriction would be in place only for a 'limited time'. Earlier, sources close to Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander indicated restrictions could become permanent.

Fliers have been banned from taking any liquid such as drink, hair gel or contact lens solution into plane cabins. Airports were also attempting to stop families and friends entering the airport with passengers.

Other than this, airports are 'open as normal' today, but passengers are advised to check with their airline that their flight is being operated before they leave for the airport and to allow enough time for the new security processes.

How the terror alert affected airports yesterday - with likely overhang of effects today

Travellers at Heathrow Airport heading to the US were subject to the longest delays and cancellations. Those waiting for domestic arrivals found that the majority of internal flights were cancelled yesterday.

Between 10 - 15 percent of flights were cancelled at Gatwick Airport. A spokesman said 79 flights were cancelled and that passengers were experiencing average delays of an hour and a half. Armed police and sniffer dogs patrolled concourse areas as long queues snaked through the check-in zones. Sussex Police said it had drafted in extra officers to patrol the airport.

A spokesman for Manchester Airport said delays were running at between one and three hours. He said domestic travellers were suffering more than international passengers. Sniffer dogs and armed officers were on patrol there. Giant queues stretched the entire length of the departures lounge.

At Stansted Airport motorists were greeted by armed police who had blocked off a road running alongside the airport where passengers can normally be dropped off. Traffic on approach roads was tailing back for several miles. The departures area was jammed with queuing passengers as armed police were patrolling the departures and arrivals areas.

A spokesman said by 14:00, 47 flights had been cancelled, most of them Ryanair flights. easyJet and Air Berlin had also cancelled flights.

Armed police patrolled Luton Airport. easyJet cancelled all flights from the airport and announcements told people to go home and rebook online. Many other flights from the airport suffered severe delays.

Birmingham Airport urged passengers to turn up for flights as normal, but to help speed up the check-in process by carrying no hand luggage unless it was absolutely essential, and putting these items in plastic bags. They were also asked to arrive at the airport in plenty of time and not expect to check in at the last minute.

At Southampton Airport marketing manager Mandy Khaira said delays should be expected as the new security checks slowed down normal processes. She said: 'This has a knock-on effect. We are expecting delays and are asking passengers to allow plenty of time to get through security. If they prepare themselves before they get to check-in, the whole system will process a lot quicker.'

Coventry Airport said it was intensifying its security activities as instructed by the Department for Transport. A spokeswoman said: 'Our flights have gone out on time because we are a smaller airport and our flights are spaced out. We are able to cope at the moment.'

BAA Scotland said that extra security staff were being drafted in to its airports, but it was hopeful that the extra checks would not affect departures from Glasgow, Edinburgh or Aberdeen.

At Newcastle Airport flights were cancelled as carriers struggled to keep to their timetables. Airport staff were asking anyone who had arrived with friends and family but who is not actually travelling to stay away from the main terminal.

Cardiff Airport said it was 'inevitable' that passengers would face delays today. The airport's managing director Jon Horne said some flights were delayed by up to an hour and a half.

Nottingham East Midlands Airport said security had been increased and additional security measures put in place for all flights. Delays stretched to between an hour and 90 minutes.

Liverpool Airport suffered the cancellation of four flights. The flights to Derry and Shannon in Ireland, Carcassonne in France and Venice in Italy, were all run by Ryanair.

Flights between Belfast's two airports and London airports were cancelled. Passengers arriving early at Belfast International and The George Best Belfast City Airport were facing a day of delays and long queues.

At Belfast International easyJet flights to Amsterdam, Gatwick and Luton were cancelled and easyJet flights from Luton and Gatwick to the airport were also stopped. Passengers using the airport were urged to check in at least two hours before their flights.

At George Best Belfast City Airport flights to and from Heathrow and Stansted were also pulled. The airport asked passengers using the airport to arrive as early as possible.

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