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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 August 2006, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
Army families caught up in alert
Passengers queuing at Newcastle Airport
A number of flights to and from Newcastle were cancelled
Families of soldiers bound for Iraq were among those caught up in a terror alert which brought heightened security measures to UK airports.

A group of armed forces personnel, in full desert gear, were leaving for Iraq from Durham Tees Valley Airport.

But families were told to say their goodbyes from outside the terminal, as only those flying were allowed inside.

Passengers at Durham Tees Valley and Newcastle airports were hit by disruption on Thursday.

By Thursday evening, 38 flights to and from Newcastle Airport for 10 and 11 August had been cancelled.

At Durham Tees Valley Airport, two flights - to Newquay and Gatwick - were cancelled and a flight to Heathrow on Thursday morning was delayed but otherwise services were running on schedule.

Passengers at the airports were undergoing extra searches and no-one who was not flying was being allowed inside terminals.

It was quite sad for us this morning to see our daughter going off to Iraq and we were not allowed in to say our goodbyes
Mother of soldier leaving from Durham Tees Valley Airport

Armed police from Durham Constabulary were stationed at the approaches to Durham Tees Valley airport, ushering traffic into designated areas of car parks.

Additional security at Newcastle Airport was compounded by ongoing disruption to Easyjet flights, which have been subject to cancellation because of staff shortages.

A spokeswoman for Newcastle Airport said: "Passengers with flights today from Newcastle are advised to arrive at the airport as planned.

"However, due to heightened security measures, all items of baggage must be checked-in, including all mobile phones and electronic items.

Durham Tees  Valley Airport
Armed officers are on duty at Durham Tees Valley Airport

"Small non-electronic items can be carried onboard, but must be placed in the carrier bags provided at check-in.

"All customers who are not travelling from the airport today are strongly advised not to come to the airport until further notice."

Staff at both airports were handing out clear polythene bags to travellers to carry the now-limited amount of hand luggage being allowed.

Most passengers arriving at both airports accepted the delays as "necessary" amid increasing terrorist threats.

The mother of a soldier leaving for Iraq from Durham Tees Valley Airport said: "It was quite sad for us this morning to see our daughter going off to Iraq and we were not allowed in to say our goodbyes.

"It's sad because we won't see Hannah again for three months. We don't know what is happening over there in Iraq an we would have liked to have said a proper goodbye.

"We have to accept things though but we are so very proud of Hannah and all of the soldiers going out to Iraq."

Baby food

Kara Cutler, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, was travelling with her husband Robert and 16-month-old Madeleine, who was making her first flight on Thursday.

Mrs Cutler said she had packed a small bag of toys to amuse her daughter on the plane, but they would not be allowed to fly with them.

"We will just have to wait until we get to her uncle's house in London now," she said.

Mrs Cutler said she believed if she tasted Madeleine's baby food at the security desk, she would be allowed to fly with it.

NHS manager Denise Young, 42, from Bedlington, Northumberland, was flying out for her summer holiday to Zante with her husband Stephen and eight-year-old daughter Sarah.

"We were told in the shop that we would have to finish our water bottle before we get on the plane, so I hope they will be supplying us with bottles on the aircraft," she said.

"But the queues are not too bad because we are aware of what is happening and this is okay considering the news only broke early this morning."

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