Mid-South Airports Reacting to New Terror Threat

AUGUST 10, 2006 - Posted at 8:59 a.m. CDT

MEMPHIS, TN - Memphis International Airport officials expect a couple of days of longer lines as passengers get used to higher security.

The federal government raised the level this morning after British authorities arrested 21 people in what investigators say was a plot to blow up as many as ten airliners leaving Great Britain for the United States.

Memphis airport spokesman Larry Cox says about 70 percent of the airport's passenger traffic "doesn't come through the front door," but are passengers being flown from Northwest Airlines' passenger hub.

Those passengers have already been screened at other airports.  However, Cox says delays in flight from those airports could effect departures from Memphis International.

Cox says he expects a couple of days of long lines while travelers get used to packing lightly and not packing any liquids or gels in carry-on bags.

Meanwhile, travelers using the Little Rock National Airport aren't allowed to park near the terminal and are required to follow other federal security restrictions.

Little Rock airport spokesman Phillip Launius says airport employees have been working since early this morning to put the plan in place.  He reminds travelers that Homeland Security restrictions do not allow passengers to carry on beverages, hair gels, lotions and other liquids.  Launius says flights at the Little Rock airport are operating normally and he expects that to continue.  He advises travelers to allow a little extra time, however.

The Little Rock airport has no international flights.  About 2,600,000 travelers pass through the facility each year.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)