SAA on Alert

SECURITY has been tightened on South African Airways flights to the United States, the airline announced yesterday.

SECURITY has been tightened on South African Airways flights to the United States, the airline announced yesterday.

"SAA has implemented additional security measures on its US flights to Washington and New York to comply with a directive from the US Transport Security Administration," said SAA spokesperson Azure Janneker.

"The security, such as increased pre-screening of passengers, will apply to before departure as well as on board the aircraft."

She said passengers should factor additional time into travel arrangements because of these additional procedures.

On Friday a Nigerian man allegedly linked to al-Qaeda tried to blow up a plane travelling to Detroit.

The man smuggled explosives on board and had tried to detonate them before being overpowered by passengers and crew on the NorthWest airline flight that departed from Amsterdam's Schipol Airport.

The US has since asked airlines and airports across the globe to tighten security for flights travelling to the country.

The man has been identified as Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, though there have been conflicting reports about the correct spelling of his name.

He had reportedly covered himself with a blanket before passengers heard a popping noise, then saw a fire that spread quickly to the aircraft's walls.

While crew and passengers restrained him he allegedly said he had an "explosive device" in his pocket. He sustained third degree burns and is recovering in hospital.

Abdulmutallab faces charges filed on Saturday in a US court of trying to destroy an aeroplane and faces a 20-year jail term if convicted.

Since the incident, frisking passengers and searching hand luggage has come into force on most international airlines.

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