Barbadians travelling to the United States may expect more security pat-downs.
They will also be subjected to the increase use of explosive detection swabs on their shoes. Those are among the measures provided for in a bulletin issued yesterday by the US Department of Homeland Security, which warned airlines of possible attempts to attack passenger jets, using explosives packed in shoes.
The bulletin does not identify any specific airline or time frame, but indicated that flights from outside of the United States, arriving there, were potentially at risk, and not domestic air service within America.
Communications specialist at the Grantley Adams International Airport, Keith Goddard, told Barbados TODAY this afternoon, that this country has been enforcing the removal of shoes at its security checkpoint for departing passengers.
“The removal of shoes is part of the procedure at Grantley Adams, so that that would be nothing new to us in terms of having to take off shoes. That has always been part of the security process in terms of passengers departing the airport,” Goddard added.
Asked if any additional measures had been introduced because of the bulletin, he responded:, “I can’t speak to that because I have not been part of any discussion that that has come up; but what I can advise is that, allow me to investigate it before I speak formally on it.”
Earlier this month, Homeland Security warned airlines with flights to Russia to look for explosive devices possibly hidden inside toothpaste. Passengers were subsequently banned from bringing any liquids in their carry-on luggage on nonstop flights from the United States to Russia.
The warning became public just days before the start of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. However, Homeland Security noted that this latest bulletin was not related to the Sochi Games.
Meanwhile, the runway at Grantley Adams International Airport was shut down for about two hours this afternoon, following an incident involving an Air Canada aircraft with more than 100 passengers onboard.
Goddard informed this newspaper that at around 2:50 p.m., the aircraft experienced a burst tyre while departing.
“We had to close the runway partially for two hours today, because of an aircraft. While in the process of departing it, experienced a burst tyre that caused the closure of the runway to arriving aircraft traffic,” reported the airport spokesman.
“At no time at all were passengers onboard the aircraft in any danger. Passengers were taken off the aircraft by the buses to the terminal. Sometime around quarter past five this afternoon, we reopened the runway to full operation to allow for arrival of passenger arrivals to Barbados,” he added.
“Due to the situation this afternoon, a number of aircraft were forced to divert to other airports,” stated Goddard.
The GAIA communications specialist said the tyre was fixed and the plane was expected to leave tonight.