Friday, August 11, 2006

Tightened security affects air travel in Costa Rica

The increased security was visible at Juan Santamaria International. Photo by Insidecostarica.comNOTE: THIS IS AN UPDATE TO THE PREVIOUS POST

Information taken from

Due to the terrorist threat uncovered in Great Britain early yesterday, thousands of travellers to the United States from Costa Rica came under close scrutiny, more so than normal, at the Juan Santamaría International (San José) and Daniel Oduber (Liberia) airports.

Airport officials were quick to point out that yesterday the new restrictions did not affect flight schedules and no flights were delayed as a result. However, early this morning, several U.S. flights took off later than normal.

According to Jean Marc Borreau, an airport security official, passengers on medications must have a prescription to accompany the medications or will have to leave them behind.

Sales at the duty free shop are greatly affected, said Borreau, as a large percentage of customers at the duty free shop are U.S. bound, though no figures on potential losses were given.

The restrictions also mean that passengers on all U.S. bound flight should now arrive at the airport at least three hours ahead of their flight, one hour earlier than recommended.

The alleged plot was to smuggle liquid explosives onto planes and then detonate in mid-flight. The plan was blow up as many as 10 airliners headed for the United States. Security sources say that the plan is believed to mix a sports drink with a gel-like substance to make an explosive what could be possibly triggered by an MP3 player or cell phone.

Most passengers interviewed by local television at the Juan Santamaria airport were not upset by the added security measure, while some said it was "silly". Several North Americans headed home along with a number of Costa Ricans headed for the U.S. were interviewed.

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