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AIR THREAT INVESTIGATION

Delays Worsen at Heathrow

August 13, 2006|From a Times Staff Writer

LONDON — A third day of security-related backups worsened delays Saturday at Heathrow Airport, where passengers waited for hours in tents outside terminals before being allowed to check in.

Many flights departed as some of their passengers remained stranded in line.

After canceling 12 flights to the U.S., 21 short-haul flights and 10 domestic departures, British Airways was strongly critical of Heathrow management, saying the airport authority was "unable to provide a robust security search process and baggage operation" under new procedures that nearly eliminate carry-on luggage.

By Saturday night, a third of all departures from Europe's busiest airport had been canceled.

"Quite simply, I don't know how long it's likely to go on, but it's clearly a set of measures that are unprecedented," Tony Douglas, head of the British Airport Authority, told the BBC. "And ... they're not sustainable measures."

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