Police Blow Up Suspicious Item at London Luton AirportJeremy Hodges
Police blew up a suspicious package at London Luton Airport after its discovery had led to the evacuation of passengers and cancellation of flights.
The item was found not to present a wider danger following the controlled detonation at the airport 30 miles from London, Bedfordshire Police said in a statement. Thousands of people had their trips disrupted, with EasyJet Plc scrapping its timetable for the rest of the day even after the facility reopened.
“A controlled explosion was conducted at 5.15 p.m. and it was confirmed that the item destroyed, although deemed suspicious, did not present a wider danger,” the police said.
Britain raised its terrorism threat assessment level to “severe,” the second-highest rating, on Aug. 29 as a result of new intelligence from Syria and Iraq. The change means an attack is deemed “highly likely,” though there’s no evidence about a specific plot.
Some 21 departures were canceled when Luton was closed, with 20 arriving flights also scrapped or diverted, according to officials at the airport, the fourth-largest serving London.
EasyJet, Britain’s biggest low-cost airline and the second-largest in Europe, said it scrapped 41 flights, 18 earlier in the day and the rest from the evening schedule.
Six EasyJet flights scheduled to land at Luton, the carrier’s home base and where it operates 40 percent of all flights, were diverted, four to London Stansted and one each to Birmingham and Southend. Services should return to normal tomorrow morning, it said in an e-mailed statement.
The terminal was out of action for more than three hours and officials also closed roads leading up to the airport before police conducted the controlled explosion.