U.S. Warns Travelers on Risk of Terrorism at Athens Airport
The United States today warned American travelers that the Athens International Airport poses an unusually high risk of encounters with terrorists.
Citing lax security at the airport, where two hijackers boarded TWA Flight 847 Friday, State Department spokesman Bernard Kalb said, “We have decided to issue a travel advisory warning American citizens of the potential danger of air travel to, through or from Athens.”
“We have repeatedly made our concerns known to the Greek government in the past,” said Kalb.
“Although the Greek government has expressed its willingness to improve conditions at the Athens airport, specific steps have not been taken yet and security there is still inadequate,” he said.
“We have no choice but to warn our citizens of the potential danger of terrorist acts there,” he added.
In the advisory, the State Department warned that “several terrorist incidents have taken place” at the Athens airport. Kalb said that on April 4, a terrorist penetrated a gap in an airport perimeter fence and fired a rocket-launched grenade at a Jordanian airliner, then escaped. Kalb refused to give other examples that preceded the TWA hijacking.
Kalb insisted Washington was not organizing an international boycott of the airport and stressed that the United States has offered to help beef up Athens airport security.
He said the advisory would be lifted “when we determine that security at Athens has improved and there is no longer a danger.”
World pilots’ group asks boycott. Page 14.