Britair
Topic Author
Posts: 900
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 1999 3:50 am

British Airways Suspends Flights To Caracas

Thu Feb 20, 2003 3:31 am

News just in: Effectively immediately British Airways has suspended operations to Caracas indefinately.

This is in light of recent economic and political unrest in Venezuela. Off the record it is also following the discovery of a hand-grenade on a Caracas to London BA flight.



 
aa61hvy
Posts: 13021
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 1999 9:21 am

RE: British Airways Suspends Flights To Caracas

Thu Feb 20, 2003 3:38 am

Was that a 744 or a 772 flight?
Go big or go home
 
Britair
Topic Author
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Joined: Fri Aug 27, 1999 3:50 am

RE: British Airways Suspends Flights To Caracas

Thu Feb 20, 2003 5:44 am

BA served Caracas from Gatwick with a 777 that continued on to Bogota. Not quite sure what's happening with the Bogota extension now though, will probably route through Barbados or somewhere in the Caribbean.
 
armcom
Posts: 42
Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2003 2:07 am

RE: British Airways Suspends Flights To Caracas

Thu Feb 20, 2003 6:22 am

Britair,

Your correct, BA is going to operate Bogotá by Bridgetown, Bardados (BGI).
 
Britair
Topic Author
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Joined: Fri Aug 27, 1999 3:50 am

RE: British Airways Suspends Flights To Caracas

Thu Feb 20, 2003 6:45 am

I thought so. At home now and didnt have a chance to look into it all very closely when I was at work, just got the internal email saying that services had been suspended.

Thanks  Smile
 
donder10
Posts: 6944
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2001 5:29 am

RE: British Airways Suspends Flights To Caracas

Thu Feb 20, 2003 6:49 am

Weren't they checking out the security at CCS in the last 10days or so because of the grenade incident?As you said in your 1st post Britair, the current political climate in Venezuela provides a useful cover instead of 'your security is shit'.  Smile
 
Britair
Topic Author
Posts: 900
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 1999 3:50 am

RE: British Airways Suspends Flights To Caracas

Thu Feb 20, 2003 7:07 am

Hey Donder10  Smile I agree totally!

Especially since yesterday the following was posted on the BA staff intranet, and then today flights are suspended!......

British anti-terror police travel to Caracas

British anti-terrorist police have travelled to Caracas to piece together the life of a Venezuelan man who allegedly flew from the South American country to London's Gatwick airport with a live hand grenade in his luggage.

Three officers from the Metropolitan Police were scheduled to arrive in the Venezuelan capital as part of their investigation into Hasil Mohammed Rahaham-Alan, 37, who was arrested last week after stepping off a British Airways flight from Caracas, sources close to the investigation said.

Tight-lipped Venezuelan immigration authorities say Rahaham-Alan was carrying a false domestic identification card and they could not confirm his identity.

"It's the same name, but we are not sure we are talking about the same person. We're not sure if he is a Venezuelan or not," said Alfredo Gil Romero, director of the immigration control agency.

Family home

Reuters visited the two-story green-and-white home, where Rahaham-Alan told a London courtroom he had lived. Neighbours said a family named Rahaham had lived for more than a decade in the house, perched along a sun-scorched hillside overlooking the eastern part of Caracas.

Interpol police on Friday visited the home, which had been unoccupied for nearly a month, local residents said.
"I was surprised to hear this," said one neighbour, who asked not to be named. "They are really decent, professional people. I used to call the mother 'grandma' and she would invite me in for tea and coffee."

The elderly mother and her four children were not believed to be native Venezuelans, but residents of this middle-class neighbourhood said they didn't know where the family had come from. Two sons and a daughter lived outside Caracas, but the third son had not visited the home for about three years, they said.

Rahaham-Alan appeared in a London court on Monday where he was charged with "possession of an article for the purpose of committing a terrorist act" and "possession of an explosive substance with intent to endanger life or damage property".

Custody

He is also charged with carrying a dangerous article on a British-registered plane. He has been remanded in custody and is due to appear at London's Old Bailey court on February 24.

US officials last year said they were concerned that extremist Islamic groups were receiving financial backing from Middle Eastern expatriate communities on Venezuela's Margarita Island, a popular Caribbean tourist haven.

The mainland shares a rugged, porous border with Colombia and has long been a conduit for drugs and counterfeit goods to and from other South American countries. Venezuelan government officials admit their troubled immigration controls need an urgent overhaul.

Arrested

Rahaham-Alan, bearded with long dark hair, arrived at Gatwick last Thursday on a British Airways flight which officials said started in Bogota, Colombia and made stops in Caracas and Barbados before heading to London.

He was arrested after police allegedly discovered the grenade in his bags. Police, already on high alert due to threats of an attack, were forced to evacuate the airport's north terminal, delaying or cancelling scores of flights.

British officials also want to determine how a hand grenade got through Caracas airport security. Sources said that the grenade was carried in a metal box that helped mask it from X-ray equipment.

 
trintocan
Posts: 2725
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2000 6:02 pm

RE: British Airways Suspends Flights To Caracas

Thu Feb 20, 2003 10:19 am

Yes, the CCS/BOG flights were of late routed via BGI - after the uprisings in CCS they were routed initially via TAB but were shifted to BGI due to greater pax demand for flights to Barbados (ie more revenue on the long hop). I find it strange that CCS security has been called into question - on the times I have flown to or through CCS they were very strict. Indeed on flights to and from MIA-POS in 1993 all pax had to disembark from the UA 757s during the CCS stop and go back through X-ray screening before boarding again.

TrintoCan.
Hop to it, fly for life!
 
HlywdCatft
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RE: British Airways Suspends Flights To Caracas

Thu Feb 20, 2003 10:48 am

Thats scary reading about the Islamic groups on Margarita Island. My girlfriend is from there and we were supposed to go there over xmas time, but cancelled the trip due to the unrest there.
 
ussherd
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Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2000 8:01 am

RE: British Airways Suspends Flights To Caracas

Thu Feb 20, 2003 6:12 pm

In my experience, security at Caracas has always been very strict. There also seems to be pretty thorough bag screening to deal with drug trafficking (due to Venezuela's proximity to Colombia). As far as Islamic groups in Venezuela are concerned, I can't really believe that they would pose a major threat. There is a considerable Middle Eastern community throughout Venezuela and on Margarita in particular, but I understand that most of this community is Orthodox Christian, not Muslim.
Cada loco con su tema...
 
Guest

RE: British Airways Suspends Flights To Caracas

Thu Feb 20, 2003 8:36 pm

Just out of interest, have any other airlines cancelled ops to CCS?
 
Britair
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RE: British Airways Suspends Flights To Caracas

Fri Feb 21, 2003 7:43 pm

BA to resume flights to Caracas

British Airways will resume flights to the Venezuelan capital of Caracas today (Friday) and has appointed a new security firm there to carry out its hold baggage screening.

Last week on Thursday (February 13) a male passenger on BA's Caracas flight was arrested by the police for allegedly carrying a hand grenade in his hold baggage.

The airline launched its own investigation immediately and sent one of its senior security advisers to Caracas to find out why it had not been detected during hold baggage screening.

Security procedures

It also cancelled all its flights to and from Caracas airport until it could reassure itself about the security procedures there.

The Venezuelan Government's National Guard carries out hold baggage screening on behalf of many airlines operating from Caracas airport and BA as has been conducting an immediate review with them.

A BA spokesman said: "Under the definitions used by the UK authorities, Venezuela was and remains categorised as 'low threat'. Caracas airport was audited recently as part of our regular world-wide programme and received a satisfactory rating but as part of our investigation we decided to conduct another immediate review.

"As a result we have decided to introduce alternative baggage screening procedures with immediate effect. We have terminated our arrangement with the National Guard and have appointed a private security company to carry out our hold baggage screening.

"Consequently we have decided to resume services into and out of Caracas with effect from tomorrow."

 
LatinPlane
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Joined: Mon Dec 27, 1999 11:05 am

RE: British Airways Suspends Flights To Caracas

Sat Feb 22, 2003 4:31 am

Capt. Picard

As far as I know, United has been the only carrier to stop flying into Caracas. Other airlines still continue to serve Venezuela, but many have reduced service extensively. Many airlines from Europe are now having to stop and refuel somewhere in the carribbean on their way back to their destination. Iberia was flying to MAD via Santo Domingo, while Alitalia now makes a stop in Point-A-Pitre to and from Italy.



 Smile LatinPlane

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