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British Airways Flights to Washington, DC, Riyadh Canceled Over Terror Fears - 2004-02-13

Concerns about terrorism have led British Airways to cancel two upcoming international flights, one of them bound for the United States. Cancelations are the latest in a series of threats to airline security.

British Airways has canceled this Sunday's flight 223 from London's Heathrow Airport to Washington's Dulles, as well as Monday's flight 263 to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia because of concerns about security. Airline spokesman John Lampl offered no details about the nature of the threats.

"Based on the information given to us by the British government this morning, we've taken that decision to cancel the flight on Sunday," he said.

It was the fifth time that BA flight 223 has been canceled this year because of fears of terrorism. During the Christmas and New Year's holidays, British Airways and Air France cancelled more than a dozen trans-Atlantic flights after U.S. authorities passed on what they called credible information the flights could be targeted by al-Qaida terrorists in September 11 style attacks.

In Washington Thursday, Attorney General John Ashcroft would not comment on whether those threats have resurfaced, characterizing the move as a precaution.

"We know that al-Qaida continues to be interested in airplanes and using them as destructive weapons," he said.

Cancellations of British Airways flight 223 have become so frequent that the airline is now reported to be considering changing the flight number.