LONDON – British Airways has canceled three flights from Heathrow Airport to Washington, D.C. and Miami because of government security concerns, the airline said Saturday. Air France said two of its flights scheduled Sunday and Monday from Paris to Washington have been canceled, also for security reasons.
On Friday, U.S. officials said new intelligence indicated BA flight 223 and Air France flights from Paris to an unspecified U.S. city could be terrorist targets. There was no immediate word from the French authorities on any cancellations.
“We remain concerned about al-Qaida’s desire to target aviation, especially international aviation,” U.S. Homeland Security Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said. “The U.S. intelligence community continues to gather specific credible threat information on international flights, as we have done in an ongoing basis in the past few weeks.”
Air France flights AF026 were canceled “for reasons of security,” spokeswoman Veronique Brachet said.
British Airways said on Saturday that flight 223 to Washington’s Dulles airport would not fly on Sunday or Monday, but was to depart on schedule at 3:05 p.m. Saturday.
Flight 207 to Miami would not fly on Sunday, a spokeswoman said. The flight left Saturday morning as scheduled.
The spokeswoman, who declined to be identified, said BA had canceled the flights on the advice of the British government. She cited security fears but gave no further details.
“The safety and security of our operations is our absolute priority and will not be compromised,” the airline said.
In Washington, a Homeland Security Department spokesperson confirmed the decision to cancel the flights was made by British Airways. The official could not immediately provide more information about why the flights were canceled, or the source of the intelligence that led to the cancellations.
BA’s Flight 223 drew concerns in early January, when it was canceled twice because of security fears and then delayed for hours several more times.
Six Air France flights between Paris and Los Angeles were canceled during Christmas week.
A British Department for Transport spokesman said the decision to cancel the flights was made “in the light of information received.”
“Aviation security measures are adjusted from time to time, and occasional cancellations may be necessary,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The first priority is always the safety of the traveling public.”