British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced on Wednesday the immediate suspension of direct flights from Yemen to London – because of terrorism fears.
Brown also announced a series of other air travel security-enhancing features, including the creation of a new no-fly list, the expand of its million-name "watch list," and the introduction of controversial full-body scanning machines in UK airports.
"We have agreed with Yemenia airlines, pending enhanced security, that they suspend their [two weekly] direct flights to the UK from Yemen, with immediate effect," Brown said.
The prime minister, speaking in Parliament, described Yemen as "an incubator and potential safe haven" for terrorism. He said that British officials are meeting with their Yemeni counterparts in Yemen’s capital Sana'a in order to improve security.
A Yemenia spokesman told The Wall Street Journal that Britain had demanded that London-bound flights from Yemen stop in either Paris or Cairo for extra security checks, including unloading the plane of both passengers and luggage.
The Associated Press reports that security officials believe that three-quarters of the terrorist plots against the United Kingdom are planned in the western border regions of Pakistan. Yemen, too, is known to be an unwitting host to many Al-Qaeda cells. The recent attempt to bomb a Detroit-bound airliner was carried out by a Nigerian student believed to have been radicalised in Yemen.