Airports

OSINT Summary: Alleged attack plot targeting LAX highlights risk to US tourism industry

29 April 2015
Visitors to the Statue of Liberty are evacuated from a ferry in Manhattan following a bomb threat on Liberty Island, New York, on 24 April. (PA)

On 24 April, several United States media outlets, citing unnamed security officials, claimed security measures had been increased in several locations in the south of the US state of California, including the city of Los Angeles and its airports, amid concerns over an Islamic State-inspired attack on these areas and uniformed personnel, following the interception of communications and other intelligence information. In particular, the unnamed officials claimed that there was a "known threat" against Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and that upgraded measures had been extended there earlier in the week. Reports of a specific threat to LAX was denied by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) - the airport oversight and operations department for LA - in a press release that same day, however, it did confirm it had "increased the visibility of airport police".

The Department of Homeland Security released a statement on 24 April to confirm that it had made "a number of security adjustments" to its airport security procedures over the last few months - including enhanced screenings at overseas airports and random passenger and baggage searches on US inbound flights - and that this was "reflecting an evolving threat picture". Nonetheless, an unnamed law enforcement official told Reuters on 26 April that "there is no known specific threat to Los Angeles or any airport in our territory", and there had been no further official comment from intelligence officials at the time of writing.

Also on 24 April, hundreds of tourists were evacuated from the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island in New York City, and Statue Cruises ferries - which transport tourists to the island - were postponed, after an anonymous caller issued a bomb threat against the Statue. Following a sweep of the area, though, security officials declared it safe later that same day.

Both these incidents highlight the potential risk to the US tourism industry, and consequently, the economy. Increased security practices and militant threats raise the likelihood of disruptions and delays to tourism services and transportation at the start of the peak summer tourist season, while also potentially causing a decrease in the number of foreign visitors.

Such threats are not limited to Los Angeles and New York, meaning that even if tourists avoid these cities there remains a potential risk. On 25 February, at a meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General in Washington DC, FBI Director James Comey, talking about Islamist militancy, confirmed that the authorities were maintaining "investigations of people in various stages of radicalising in all 50 states", adding, "This isn't a New York phenomenon or a Washington phenomenon. This is all 50 states and in ways that are very hard to see."

Related article: Lessons linger from LAX shooting

Copyright © IHS Global Limited, 2015



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RELEVANT PROFILE LISTINGS

  • POITIERS BIARD

    PIS/LFBI AIRFIELD REF PT.: N46 35.15 E000 18.24 ELEVATION : 423' 129m CFR : 5 MAX RWY LENGTH : 7,710' 2,350 m General Information SURFACE : Rwy 03/21, 7,710' 2,350 m, width 148' 45 m, asphalt, PCN 44 F/C/W/T. ADDITIONAL RUNWAYS : Rwy 03R/21L, 2,297' 700 m, width 148' 60 m, grass, Rwy 03L/21R,

  • HORTA

    HOR/LPHR AIRFIELD REF PT.: N38 31.19 W028 42.95 ELEVATION : 118' 36m CFR : 6 MAX RWY LENGTH : 5,233' 1,595m General Information SURFACE : Rwy 10/28, 5,233' 1,595 m, width 148' 45 m, asphalt. ADDITIONAL RUNWAYS : None. RUNWAY LIGHTING : Rwy 10: LIRL, REIL, ALSF-2, PAPI.Rwy 28: LIRL, REIL, ALSF-2,

  • PICO

    PIX/LPPI AIRFIELD REF PT.: N38 33.16 W028 26.29 ELEVATION : 109' 33m CFR : 0 MAX RWY LENGTH : 5,725' 1,745m General Information SURFACE : Rwy 09/27 Twy, 5,725' 1,745 m, width 148' 45 m, asphalt, PCN 80 F/B/W/T. ADDITIONAL RUNWAYS : None. RUNWAY LIGHTING : Rwy 09: LIRL, PAPI.Rwy 27: LIRL, ALSF-2,

  • SANTA MARIA

    SMA/LPAZ AIRFIELD REF PT.: N36 58.28 W025 10.24 ELEVATION : 308' 94m CFR : 7 MAX RWY LENGTH : 10,000' 3,048m General Information SURFACE : Rwy 18/36, 10,000' 3,048 m, width 197' 60 m, concrete. ADDITIONAL RUNWAYS : Rwy 15/33, 6,004' 1,830 m; Rwy 04/22, 4,345' 1,324 m; both asphalt; both closed.

  • DEL BAJIO INTL

    BJX/MMLO AIRFIELD REF PT.: N20 59.36 W101 28.51 CFR : 0 MAX RWY LENGTH : 11,480' 3,499 m General Information SURFACE : Rwy 13/31, 11,480' 3,499 m, width 148' 45 m, asphalt, PCN 74 F/C/X/T. AIRFIELD OPERATOR : Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico, Km 5.5 Carretera Silao-Leon 0, Col. New Mexico Silao,

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