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British Airways, Air France Cancel US Flights on Security Fears
VOA News
31 Jan 2004, 16:19 UTC

New security concerns have prompted Air France and British Airways to cancel flights to the United States.

Air France officials Saturday canceled two flights from Paris to Washington scheduled for Sunday and Monday. The action came only hours after British Airways announced the cancellation of flights to Washington and Miami.

Officials from the British airline said Flight 223 from London's Heathrow airport to Washington's Dulles airport would not fly Sunday or Monday. Flight 207 from Heathrow to Miami also will be grounded Sunday.

A U.S. official said Saturday that U.S. intelligence indicates al-Qaida may be targeting flights from Europe to the United States. The intelligence is said to be similar to information that prompted a wave of flight cancellations and delays during the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

British Airways Flight 223 was canceled twice in early January, and was delayed several times. Air France canceled six flights between Paris and Los Angeles during Christmas week.

Also Saturday, officials for Virgin Atlantic Airlines reported that a flight from London's Heathrow Airport to New York's Kennedy Airport was forced to turn back after the captain detected a burning smell in the cabin.

The plane carrying 181 passengers landed safely back in London.

An airline spokesman said the decision to return was a safety precaution, and was not related to security concerns.