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Monday, 7 February, 2000, 17:41 GMT
Hijack leads to travel chaos

airport The hijack has thrown travel plans into chaos


Thousands of air travellers are having their plans disrupted after a hijacked plane landed at London's Stansted airport.

The airport was closed for several hours - before reopening early on Monday for a much reduced service.

Passengers are still being warned of delays and cancellations.

Ryanair cancelled its morning flights, and many other airlines were running reduced services.

A spokesman for Stansted Airport said 80% to 90% of planned flights on Monday afternoon had gone ahead, thanks to extra resources being brought in from Gatwick and Heathrow airports.

Officials said "a handful" of arrivals had landed but most were being diverted to other UK airports.

Long wait

The airport was earlier operating a service only for departures, with many passengers facing diversions and delays.

john stent John Stent: "Passengers should check at home"


Airport managing director John Stent said a "very limited" service was operating, using part of the runway which would not affect the way in which the authorities were dealing with the hijack.

Go and KLM were advising passengers to check in as normal but warning of possible diversions to other airports.

Negotiators are continuing to talk to the hijackers who are holding more than 150 passengers aboard the Afghan airliner.

Arrivals diverted

Mr Stent said: "I would repeat my advice to all prospective passengers to contact their airline before leaving home to find out exactly what is happening to their particular flight."

The airport was concentrating on clearing the backlog of passengers already at Stansted, he said.

Roads leading to the airport were also slower than normal and anyone driving there should allow an extra half-hour, he said.

Armed police sealed off the area around the Boeing 727, belonging to Afghanistan's national carrier Ariana, after the plane landed at about 0200 GMT following a flight from Moscow.

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See also:
07 Feb 00 |  UK
165 held in hijack drama
07 Feb 00 |  UK
Stansted's hijack history
07 Feb 00 |  UK
Bomb blast and hijack dominates headlines

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