Suspicious Laptop Computer at Security Checkpoint Causes Delays for Departing Passengers

Passengers Forced to Wait in Main Terminal While Bomb Squad Is Summoned to Airport to Assess Status

BURBANK, Calif., April 20, 2001 — A laptop computer that aroused suspicion of possibly being an explosive device while it was undergoing examination at a security checkpoint caused delays for departing passengers using Terminal A at Burbank Airport this evening.

The device was detected shortly before 4:30 p.m. at the checkpoint leading to holdroom gates for Southwest and America West flights.  The owner of the laptop computer has been detained by Airport Authority police.

The checkpoint was closed immediately while bomb experts from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were called.  A restaurant immediately beyond the checkpoint was evacuated, but passengers arriving on flights and persons already present in the concourse were able to exit the building in a normal fashion into the baggage claim area.

Terminal B, which is used by United and Alaska Airlines, was not affected, and flights continued on a normal basis there.

In addition to the closure of the checkpoint, a fire door separating the checkpoint from the main terminal building was lowered as a precaution to isolate the checkpoint site.

Evaluation of the situation by law enforcement continued into the six o’clock hour, and Southwest and America West began moving aircraft to United gates in Terminal B to continue their departing schedules.