Office of Governor Brad Henry
State of Oklahoma
State Capitol – Oklahoma City OK 73105
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- 8/10/2006
Threat Level Raised to Orange for Domestic Flights within U.S.
Oklahoma City – Gov. Brad Henry today raised the Oklahoma Homeland Security Threat Level from Elevated Condition (“Yellow”) to High Condition (“Orange”) for the aviation sector, specifically regarding domestic flights operating through Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City and Tulsa International Airport. This decision comes after British authorities arrested 21 extremists accused of plotting to destroy multiple passenger aircraft flying from the United Kingdom to the United States. In addition, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has raised the nation’s threat level to Severe (“Red”) for commercial flights originating in the United Kingdom bound for the United States.
The increase in the Oklahoma and National Threat Levels does not affect general aviation airports or passengers.
“I have been, and will continue to be, in direct consultation with Oklahoma Homeland Security Director Kerry Pettingill, as well as federal Homeland Security officials,” said Gov. Henry. “I have full confidence in the homeland security, law enforcement and aviation communities in our state, and I ask that Oklahomans be patient in the coming days and weeks as the airport security personnel do their jobs to ensure public safety.”
Passengers traveling through any U.S. commercial airport should be prepared for the following changes in existing security requirements:
· Liquids, including beverages, hair gels, toothpaste, shampoo and lotions are prohibited from being carried onto the airplane (Exception: baby formula, breast milk or juice if a baby or small child is traveling; prescription medicine with a name that matches the passenger’s ticket; and insulin and essential other non-prescription medicines, which all must be presented for inspection at the checkpoint)
· Beverages purchased beyond the security checkpoint must be consumed before boarding – they will not be permitted onboard the aircraft
· Passengers traveling from the U.K. to the U.S. will be subject to more extensive screening procedures
Passengers should also anticipate additional security measures that will not be visible to the general public.
“We applaud the efforts of British law enforcement officials. This was a significant plot, well planned and in the final stages of preparation, and had it not been interdicted, hundreds of lives would have been in jeopardy,” said Director Pettingill. “The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other federal intelligence agencies moved swiftly in briefing me and other state homeland security advisors as the situation unfolded late last night and early this morning. This is an example of how the U.S. and British governments, along with state officials and the private sector, are working together, sharing information and continuing to fight the war on terror.”
Those flying from Oklahoma and other destinations across the country should proceed confidently with their plans while maintaining vigilance in their surroundings.
“Travelers can help the screening process go more smoothly and avoid having to give up items at the airport with just a little pre-planning before arriving at the airport,” said Karen Carney, spokesperson for Will Rogers World Airport. “Basically, de-clutter your carry-on bag of prohibited items and put them in your checked bags, consider checking all of your bags, and, of course, give yourself plenty of time.”
According to the Transportation Security Administration, there are approximately 106 flights per day between the United Kingdom and the United States.
For more information: Brook Borden in the OKOHS (405) 425-7293.