A Manchester Airport security alert caused one terminal to be entirely evacuated today, with its flight scheduled rearranged while an investigation was carried out. By early afternoon, however, the measure had been lifted, although passengers were being warned of delays.
Security officials working at one of the UK's largest airports found a suspicious-looking bag at around 0830hrs this morning. At midday, Manchester's Terminal 1 remained closed to passengers and the list of cancelled flights had reached 11, while one individual was being questioned, in accordance with the terms of the Terrorist Act. No information's yet been published concerning this man's identity, place of origin or intended destination.
Manchester Airport Security Alert
While the Manchester Airport security alert was in force, Terminals 2 and 3 remained unaffected, with flights arriving and departing as per normal.
"We were alerted to a suspicious device and as a precaution have evacuated Terminal One", the head of Manchester Airport Police, Superintendant Phil Davies, explained in a statement made during the alert period.
"This is not a decision that is taken lightly, but the safety of passengers and staff is our primary concern. We are working as quickly as possible to resolve this situation without compromising our ongoing work. I must stress that at this time the item is being treated as a suspicious device and nothing more."
Manchester Airport Bag Find
In an initial news alert on the bag find, published on its website, Manchester Airport advised passengers set to fly from Terminal One today still to arrive on site and stressed that the security alert has only impacted on departures, not arrivals. Subsequently, it confirmed that Greater Manchester Police had declared Terminal One safe but emphasised the need for continued vigilance.
‘We remind our passengers that we take security very seriously, and that an evacuation is a standard precautionary measure to ensure the safety of our passengers and staff', the airport said, adding: ‘We encourage passengers to contact their airline for the latest information if travelling today.'
Manchester Airport handled close to 18 million passengers last year, making it the fourth most popular choice for UK air travellers. It has three terminals, a pair of runways laid out in a parallel arrangement and the capacity to handle the largest aircraft in present day commercial service - the Airbus A380.
A previous Manchester Airport security alert occurred in September 2010.