Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Guyana: US Department of State Urges US Citizens NOT to Fly Caribbean Airlines on Basis of "Unconfirmed" Threat, "Fly, Caribbean is Safe"

According to CNN, the US Embassy in Georgetown is warning US citizens against flying out of the country on Caribbean Airlines flights bound for the US for the next two days, even though the US Government admits the threat data is "unconfirmed."

Interestingly, the State Department did not indicate during which times during February 10-12, 2014 the threat applied.

COMMENT: Late Sunday night (February 9), the government of Guyana announced that it had activated emergency security plans and raised the terror threat level at the country's main international airport in wake of threats to Caribbean Airlines flights.

Caribbean Airlines has added additional security measures and is cooperating with authorities, the company said in a statement Monday. It said all flights are operating as scheduled.

Unfortunately, the US Government has cried "wolf" so often in the past, since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, that its credibility is suspect. 

On the basis that the "unconfirmed" threat information may very well be useless, I suggest that air passengers do one of the following in terms of  such a narrow threat window:

1. If convenient, defer departures and arrivals on Caribbean Airlines during February 10-12, 2014;

2. If NOT convenient, and on the basis that the threat information is "unconfirmed," I would suggest that air passengers fly Caribbean Airlines on the following basis:

a. Caribbean Airlines is code-shared with British Airways, one of the safest airlines in the world;

b. British Airways' last crash was in 1985, 28 years ago;

c. Caribbean Airlines is a small carrier with few aircraft, thereby enabling the airline to quickly inspect all their airliners; 

d. Caribbean has one of the most prestigious and experienced pilots in the industry; and

e. Caribbean pilots would NOT fly their aircraft if they were UNSAFE.

Having spent over 30 years in the assessment of  terrorist and criminal threats, both for the US Department of State as well as countless clients, it is highly unlikely that that an "unconfirmed" threat would use a three-day window, when in fact, most terrorists would  intentionally target an airliner before or after the designated threat time-frame.

Finally, today is the second day of the three-day threat window. Thus far, no threats on Caribbean Airlines have been reported.