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Friday, 14 September, 2001, 08:07 GMT 09:07 UK
Many flights to US still grounded
Passengers wait for flights
American flights are to resume case by case
US airports are gradually reopening but there are still few transatlantic flights likely to leave the UK on Friday.

American authorities have said only US carriers will be allowed into the country initially and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is to issue new security guidelines to airlines.

But British Airways said it was operating three flights to Canada - to Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal - on Friday afternoon.

Also, US carrier United Airlines said it was resuming "a limited service" from Heathrow, running five flights to various US destinations.

American Airlines said it would be resuming limited scheduled flights between Europe and the US, including services from Heathrow and Gatwick, from Friday.

A spokesperson said passengers expecting to travel should check with the airline for the latest details.

Airspace reopens

British Airways said its US flights remain suspended as do its services to Islamabad in Pakistan.

Virgin Atlantic, which operates flights from several UK airports, said its services to the US and Canada would also remain grounded for the day.

Passengers wait
Many passengers are waiting to go home
American airspace was reopened at 1600BST on Thursday but the FAA said it would only be admitting flights from foreign airlines on a "case-by-case" basis when the carriers complied with the "more stringent levels of security".

On Thursday all three of New York's airports were closed, just hours after they had reopened for business.

Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark, New Jersey shut while arrests and detentions were made in connection with Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

An Alitalia flight from Rome, and a TAP plane from Lisbon were turned back mid-air.

The UK Government's 6,000ft no-fly zone over central London, imposed on Tuesday, will not be lifted until midnight on Saturday.

London's City airport will re-open on Friday but with planes diverted away from central London on their flight paths.

Restrictions on light aircraft and helicopter flights in the UK have been lifted.

Returns to Heathrow

Some flights which had been diverted from the US on Tuesday were allowed to operate over US airspace on Thursday, to reach their intended destination.

Five flights - four from Canada and one from Bermuda - returned to Heathrow after having been diverted.

Airlines say they are operating other flights normally, including those to destinations near the US, such as the Caribbean.

About 2,000 passengers who had been about to fly to the US or Canada when the attacks happened have been staying in hotels in London.

Others have been sleeping in Heathrow, in the hopes of being on the spot when flights resume.

The Association of British Travel Agents has advised all passengers to check with their airline before leaving home.

No sharp items

Meanwhile all British airports remain on high security alert.

UK airport operator British Airports Authority (BAA) have advised passengers not to pack any sharp items in hand luggage, including knives, scissors, nail files, razor blades and knitting needles.

A BAA spokesman said: "If passengers are in any doubt, they can check with their airline or their departure airport on what can be carried on board and if in any doubt, should pack items in their hold luggage."

For holidaymakers unable to reach their US destination the UK's Federation of Tour Operators has extended its 48-hour compensation package until midnight Friday, giving a no-penalty refund or free transfer to an alternative holiday.

This covers travel to all parts of the US, except New York, Boston and Washington.

For those due to travel to one of those three destinations a similar deal lasts until midnight on 18 September.

The BBC's Nick Thatcher
reports from London's Heathrow Airport

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See also:

13 Sep 01 | UK
Attacks cancel UK flights
13 Sep 01 | Business
Green light for US flights
13 Sep 01 | Business
More disruption for US flights
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