January 20: UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown today banned all direct flights to and from Yemen, citing security fears after the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Delta Airlines flight from the Netherlands to the USA.
Yemen is an “incubator and potential safe haven for terrorism”, he said, referring to the ‘Christmas Day bomber’ Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who is alleged to have been ‘radicalised’ in Yemen.
In the statement to the House of Commons, Mr Brown said the ban would remain in place until Yemen put in place new security measures. “We have agreed with Yemenia Airlines – pending enhanced security – that it suspends direct flights to the UK from Yemen with immediate effect. We are working closely with the Yemeni government to agree what security measures need to be put in place before flights are resumed. I hope that flights can be resumed soon – but the security of our citizens must be our priority,” he said.
Mr Brown also announced the creation of two new terror watch lists – one will contain the names of individuals prohibited from flying to and from the UK and a second will include lower risk individuals who will be subjected to special screening before boarding aircraft destined for the UK.