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8/10/2006
01:05 PM
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U.K. Airport Sites Change After Terrorist Plot Busted

London-area airports replaced their normal sites with an all-text page that laid out cancellations, warned travelers to stay away from the airports "unless absolutely necessary," and described some of the new security measures put in place.

The Web sites for most major airports in the United Kingdom were reduced to posting a simple text message Thursday as servers were overwhelmed by visitors seeking travel information after Scotland Yard announced it had disrupted a terrorist plot.

Sites for London-area airports at Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted had replaced their normal sites with an all-text page that laid out cancellations, warned travelers to stay away from the airports "unless absolutely necessary," and described some of the new security measures put in place. The site for the London Luton airport, meanwhile, returned a generic 404 "Page Not Found" error.

Other airports had also swapped out their graphical home pages for the text message, including those at Birmingham, Edinburgh, and Southampton.

Earlier Thursday, Scotland Yard had said it had made several arrests, and foiled a plot to blow up airliners flying U.K.-to-U.S. routes. The authorities believe the terrorists had planned to bring liquid explosives on-board aircraft in hand-held luggage.

All liquids and carry-on luggage have been banned from planes departing the U.K.

Airport sites in the U.S. remained online, although some -- New York's JFK and LaGuardia, for example -- were under heavy loads and appearing slowly early Thursday.

An advisory posted at the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) site spelled out the heightened alert, and detailed newly-banned items from aircraft, which included all liquids, gels, and beverages.

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