Pilots’ Group Asks Boycott of Athens, Beirut Airports

Associated Press

The head of an international pilots’ organization Monday urged a boycott of the Athens and Beirut airports because of the hijacking of a TWA jet.

Laurie Taylor, executive secretary of the International Federation of Airline Pilots Assns., accused Greek and Lebanese officials of lax security and failure to ensure punishment of the sky pirates.

“What is needed is knowledge of the certainty of punishment for hijackers,” said Taylor, whose organization represents more than 60,000 pilots in 66 nations, including the United States. “There is no point in improving security if governments are going to allow terrorists to get away with it.”

Taylor, a retired British Airways 747 pilot, said lack of proper security at the Athens airport allowed the first two hijackers to board the TWA Boeing 727 on Friday with grenades and a 9-millimeter pistol. He also criticized Greek officials for releasing a 21-year-old Lebanese who was arrested in Athens after failing to board the jetliner with his companions.


Taylor criticized Lebanese officials for allowing more gunmen to join the hijackers on the plane after it landed in the Lebanese capital.

He said Western governments should suspend all flights to and from Athens and Beirut airports under terms of an anti-hijacking agreement worked out in 1978 by the seven-nation Western economic summit then meeting in Bonn. Signatory nations--the United States, Britain, Canada, France, West Germany, Italy and Japan--account for 75% of all commercial air traffic into Lebanon and Greece, Taylor said.