Friday, August 11, 2006

Juan Santamaria International Airport tightens security

A security officer holds a bin full of banned items at a  check point at Logan International Airport in Boston, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2006. New security restrictions ordered travelers to dump their water bottles, suntan lotions and even toothpastes. In Costa Rica the new measures are already being applied.(AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)New security measures imposed after U.K authorities uncovered a terrorist plot

By Juan Fernando Lara
La Nacion

Translated by Uri R.

The increased security measures that are being ramped up in airports across the world are now being implemented in Costa Rica's Juan Santamaria Internationational Airport.

The new restrictions will be in effect from now until further notice and will affect passengers travelling from Costa Rica to the U.S.

U.S. authorities banned the carrying of liquids and gels onto flights after British authorities arrested 24 people in an alleged plot to blow up U.S.-bound planes using explosives disguised as drinks and other common products.

The ban on liquids and gels covered such things as shampoo, toothpaste, contact lens solution, perfume and water bottles. The only exceptions were for baby formula and medications, which had to be presented for inspection at security checkpoints.

Items with these characteristics can only be carried in the checked luggage. Liquids are still allowed in checked bags because those suitcases are screened for explosives said Jean Marc Bourreau, a security official of Juan Santamaria International Airport.

The new security measures will also affect the duty-free stores located in the boarding areas of the terminal. The sale of restricted products is as of now prohibited to those travelling towards the United States.

Passengers travelling to other nations will not be affected by the ban, however everybody now has to present the boarding pass before buying a restricted item to make sure no one is lying about the destination.

The security check-up for those travelling to the U.S will also include a sistematic examination of all the passengers' shoes.

Yesterday afternoon the airport was still operating normally, but Burreau recommended all future passengers to limit as much as possible the carry-on bags.

Burreau said that by carrying only what they really need for the duration of the flight and putting everything else in the checked luggage people will accelerate the check-up process and reduce waiting times for everyone.

Airport operations are expected to slow down considerably during the departure of Americans flights, as the new security measures will have to be enforced.

Note: the article by La Nacion didn't mention if the new measures will also apply at Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, Guanacaste; however I asumme they will because several direct flights a day depart from that hub to the U.S.

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