Possible threat: passenger airplane denied access to US airspace

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In summary: I'm sorry, I can't continue with the summary.In summary, two passengers who were on the US no-fly list were on a KLM airplane which was denied access of US airspace and had to return to Schiphol. The reason was that Mexican authorities had warned the US. Canada was not involved in this incident.
  • #1
Monique
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I don't know if this has been news in the US, but last week I read an article in my newspaper about a KLM airplane being denied access of US airspace, which had to return to Schiphol while it was already flying over Canada. The reason was two passenger which were on the US no-fly list. KLM did not give the passenger list to US authorities, since no landing was planned. Apparently Mexican authorities (the destination of the airplane) warned the US.

Today I see there is an article in NewsWeek covering the incidence. Apparently the passengers took flight lessons at the same airschool where the 9/11 hijackers took flight lessons.

Flight -
Two passengers trigger alarms—and fresh echoes of 9/11.[/url]
 
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  • #2
I'm glad they called it like that. Thank-you Mexico!
 
  • #3
It would seem more efficient to check a no-fly list at the time of boarding, but maybe hard to do, and at least there was international cooperation in detecting this. I doubt the other passengers were happy about it.
 
  • #4
Yes, can you imagine having to return while already having crossed the atlantic ocean? It is a long trip, I hope the system learned from this. I do find it strange that they were not allowed to land in Canada.
 
  • #5
Canadians are perhaps more tolerant, but if the plane has enough fuel to go back home, that's where the suspects belong.

Having the plane land in Canada would've meant having to deal with the suspects in one way or another, and I suppose there was little interest in creating the new file at the time.
 
  • #6
Gonzolo said:
Canadians are perhaps more tolerant, but if the plane has enough fuel to go back home, that's where the suspects belong.
How do you draw that conclusion. Schiphol is an airport which connects many different flights, the suspects were not dutch.
Having the plane land in Canada would've meant having to deal with the suspects in one way or another
Yes: getting them off the airplane so that the other passengers can continue their flight. I don't think there was any direct threat and it should've been allowed to land. The only way the suspects were dealt with in the other airports was providing them with a flight back home.
 
  • #7
Monique, I have to agree it is strange that they were not allowed to land in Canada. I would have thought the pilots would have landed in the closest airport and would have had the passengers in question removed as quickly as possible and then resumed the original flight plan.
 
  • #8
Monique said:
...getting them off the airplane.

And do what with them? The U.S. could have done that just as well. Why should Canadians inherently accept what has been rejected by the U.S.?

Not a Canadian problem at all. Perhaps the Dutch need better screening.

Thanks Mexico. The decision might have been made jointly, perhaps a NORAD thing, I don't know.
 
  • #9
No doubt Mexico is very concerned about the possibility of terrorists entering the U.S. from their country. That would definitely ruin the open border policy, wouldn't it?
 
  • #10
Canada would let the plane land, but unfortunatelly Canada is not a sovereign nation anymore.We have to obey American orders.
 
  • #11
The article said that the flight was only 15 minutes out of Amsterdam so returning there was easier. I doubt that commercial airliners have enough fuel to travel the width of the Atlantic and return without refueling. If they had come more than halfway the jet would have been directed somewhere on this side of the ocean, or maybe the Azures.
I think the right thing was done in this case. According to the information in the article these two men are connected to terrorist organizations. The risk of allowing them to travel over US airspace is just too dangerous whether they are visiting a sick relative in Mexico or not.

I have heard other stories of US citizens who have discovered their names were on the no fly list when they tried to purchase their plane tickets. Nobody told them they were on the list, or why they were on it. There was no authority they could contact to remove them from the list. No evidence of terrorist connections was produced. They were not Arabian. (racism?) They were portrayed as ordinary middleclass citizens.

How far is too far?
 
  • #12
Huckleberry said:
The article said that the flight was only 15 minutes out of Amsterdam so returning there was easier. I doubt that commercial airliners have enough fuel to travel the width of the Atlantic and return without refueling. If they had come more than halfway the jet would have been directed somewhere on this side of the ocean, or maybe the Azures.
I think the right thing was done in this case. According to the information in the article these two men are connected to terrorist organizations. The risk of allowing them to travel over US airspace is just too dangerous whether they are visiting a sick relative in Mexico or not.

I have heard other stories of US citizens who have discovered their names were on the no fly list when they tried to purchase their plane tickets. Nobody told them they were on the list, or why they were on it. There was no authority they could contact to remove them from the list. No evidence of terrorist connections was produced. They were not Arabian. (racism?) They were portrayed as ordinary middleclass citizens.

How far is too far?
I saw a story about a man in the situation you describe. It was similar to overcoming identity theft for him to get the information cleared so he could travel without a great deal of inconvenience each time.

As for the no-fly list, if it is not dealt with before boarding and the individual's intent is to hijack the plane, it's a little too late once the plane takes off. But since it's so easy to cross the U.S. border, it seems all they need to do is get into any country south of the border.
 
  • #13
This isn't the first incidence of planes being diverted because of the no-fly list. But perhaps the first denied flying through airspace.

Flight Diverted Due to Suspicious Passenger
Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2005 - 12:58 PM

J.J. Green, WTOP Radio
"An airplane from London to New York is being turned around and sent back because of a suspicious passenger.

Homeland Security officials confirm that British Airways Flight 175 bound for JFK Airport in New York was been turned around and sent back to London's Heathrow Airport because of a hit on the No-Fly list."


http://www.wtopnews.com/index.php?nid=251&sid=387463

"A London-to-Washington flight carrying the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens was diverted to Maine on Tuesday and the singer was removed from the plane."

http://www.nbc10.com/news/3750657/detail.html

"Air France Flight Diverted To Remove Passenger
November 21, 2004
An Air France flight from Paris to Washington was diverted to Maine when authorities discovered the name of one of the passengers on a US no-fly list, a US customs spokesman said on Sunday.

Air France Flight 026 was diverted to Maine on Saturday. One passenger was taken off the flight with an expired passport and his companion voluntarily decided not to continue traveling without him, said Barry Morrissey, spokesman for US Customs and Border Protection."


http://news.airwise.com/stories/2004/11/1101068845.html
 
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  • #14
I guess in not to distant future when almost all of us are on the no ****ing fly list we going to have to take boat to and from europe.thanks a lot america.
 

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  • #15
Evo said:
"A London-to-Washington flight carrying the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens was diverted to Maine on Tuesday and the singer was removed from the plane."
What the?!
 
  • #16
Gonzolo said:
And do what with them?
Get them on another airplane, quite simple
The U.S. could have done that just as well. Why should Canadians inherently accept what has been rejected by the U.S.?
Because the US was the potential target of the suspect individuals, not Canada.
Not a Canadian problem at all. Perhaps the Dutch need better screening.
No, the airplane was not planned to land in the US so I guess protocol did not dictate to screen against a US no-fly list. I'm sure they will change that now.
 
  • #17
Huckleberry said:
The article said that the flight was only 15 minutes out of Amsterdam so returning there was easier.
In what article did you read that? In the one from NewsWeek:
by the time the Boeing 747 had finished its three-hour crossing of the Atlantic, Homeland Security screeners were on high alert
U.S. authorities refused the plane overflight rights, and Canada rejected a request to land. Much to the chagrin of its 278 passengers, the KLM jet made an exhausting odyssey back to Amsterdam.
 
  • #18
Monique said:
Get them on another airplane...

That might piss them off. And perhaps no company wants to be seen carrying suspects. Plenty of airports in the U.S. that would not be of any interests to attacks anyway.
 
  • #19
Whatever makes you sleep at night :rolleyes:
 
  • #20
Monique said:
In what article did you read that? In the one from NewsWeek: By Mark
Yes, it is on the first paragraph of the article that you presented.
Hosenball and Michael Hirsh
NewsweekArpil 25 issue - It's part of the routine for air travel since 9/11. Fifteen minutes after KLM Flight 685 took off from Amsterdam for Mexico City on April 8, Mexican authorities forwarded the names of all the passengers to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
But I see your point. :blushing:
I wonder why they waited so long? If Homeland Security knew about the passengers 15 minutes into the flight then why did they wait 3 hours to get into high gear and tell them to return to Amsterdam? It should have been as simple as a few phone calls.
 
  • #21
Huckleberry said:
I wonder why they waited so long? If Homeland Security knew about the passengers 15 minutes into the flight then why did they wait 3 hours to get into high gear and tell them to return to Amsterdam? It should have been as simple as a few phone calls.


that is the "beauty" of it all. you see americans wanted to see what those potential terrorist would do after captain announced that plane is heading back to amsterdam...
 
  • #22
from the same newsweek article:
So did the United States overreact? "There are so many people on that watch list that shouldn't be on it," explained a U.S. official privy to the KLM case. "But you have to err on the side of caution in the post-9/11 world. You've got a plane with unknown quantities hurtling towards the U.S. You're going to act first and think later." Unfortunately, some foreign governments now think Washington does too much acting and too little thinking. While the Bush administration has made the case that this is a war without rules, Europeans still tend to see counterterrorism as a law-enforcement problem. That is partly why Dutch and other European authorities, lacking direct proof of a crime or plot, decided not to detain the two Saudis. Yet even the Europeans aren't completely on the same page. Officials with Dutch and U.S. intelligence say that after the two men arrived back in Amsterdam, they flew to London, where they were refused entry. Then they flew back to the Netherlands, where they were under surveillance before returning on their own to Saudi Arabia. British officials were later peeved that Dutch authorities failed to communicate to them the full tale of KLM 685. A Saudi official later told NEWSWEEK the two men had been detained for questioning.
 
  • #23
What could have been done, the individuals did nothing illegal. People on a US-no-fly-list are authorized to fly anywhere where they want, except the US. It would be hard to communicate since the individuals are able to book themselves on any flight. Ofcourse after they came back a second time, they were escorted to make sure it wouldn't happen again.

Apparently better screening needs to be done before people get on a flight.
 
  • #24
Monique said:
Whatever makes you sleep at night :rolleyes:

?

I think everybody agrees on better screening.
 
  • #25
It was in response to your comments:
Gonzolo said:
That might piss them off. And perhaps no company wants to be seen carrying suspects. Plenty of airports in the U.S. that would not be of any interests to attacks anyway.
Flying back to Amsterdam would not piss them off? And how do you know that US airports are not of interest? The idea is that they would hijack the airplane and crash it in the US.
 
  • #26
I don't claim I know the answer. I'm giving out hypothesises (sp? lol). Here are a few more :

- Hijacking doesn't have borders, so it's quite possible to hijack a plane that departs Canada and steer it into the U.S. Perhaps Canada preferred not to risk Canadian passengers.

- Perhaps refusing the plane is a show of solidarity with the U.S. on the matter. Perhaps Canada also has a no-fly list.

As for my comment on U.S. airports, it is just that I think the terrorists would need a symbolic site to do their thing whatever that would be. I don't think they would go after just any random U.S. city/airport.
 
  • #27
That reasoning is much more acceptible, thank you ;)
 
  • #28
Canada refusing to allow the plane to land also allows itself to not become responsible for the two men who would have to be removed from the plane. I'm not sure what their laws are regarding this but...
 

Related to Possible threat: passenger airplane denied access to US airspace

1. What does it mean when a passenger airplane is denied access to US airspace?

When a passenger airplane is denied access to US airspace, it means that the aircraft has been prevented from entering US airspace or has been directed to change its flight path. This decision is made by the relevant authorities, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and is typically done for security reasons.

2. What are the possible reasons for a passenger airplane to be denied access to US airspace?

The possible reasons for a passenger airplane to be denied access to US airspace can vary, but they are usually related to potential security threats. These threats can include a suspicious passenger on board, a malfunctioning aircraft, or intelligence reports of a potential terrorist attack.

3. How is a decision made to deny access to US airspace for a passenger airplane?

The decision to deny access to US airspace for a passenger airplane is typically made by the relevant authorities, such as the FAA, in collaboration with other agencies like the Department of Homeland Security. They use various tools and protocols, such as intelligence gathering and risk assessments, to determine if there is a potential threat and take action accordingly.

4. What happens to the passengers and crew on a passenger airplane that is denied access to US airspace?

When a passenger airplane is denied access to US airspace, it is directed to either land at the nearest airport or to change its flight path and avoid US airspace. The passengers and crew are then subject to security screenings and questioning by authorities to ensure their safety and to gather any necessary information.

5. Is it common for passenger airplanes to be denied access to US airspace?

No, it is not common for passenger airplanes to be denied access to US airspace. This decision is only made in rare cases where there is a potential threat to the safety and security of the passengers, crew, and the United States. The relevant authorities take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of everyone involved before making such a decision.

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