Luton flights resume after alert
Luton Airport is expected to return to normal service this morning after a major security scare caused chaos for holidaymakers.
The airport had been evacuated with all flights suspended and roads shut following the discovery of a suspicious item, identified in reports as a pair of hair straighteners, in the security search area.
B omb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion on the item before customers were allowed to return to the terminal almost four hours later.
Late last night, a spokesman for Luton Airport said: "Flights in and out of London Luton Airport have now resumed following the earlier evacuation due to a security alert.
"We are working hard throughout the night and into tomorrow morning when we expect operations to return to normal."
According to the airport's live departure board a Thomson flight to the Spanish city of Reus set to depart at 5.50am today is estimated to leave at 8am, while an 8.30am flight to Palma de Mallorca on the same airline is estimated to depart at 10.40am.
Thomson issued travel advice to its customers on its website, which said: "After an earlier security alert Luton airport has now reopened. Customers due to travel are advised to please proceed to the airport to check in.
"If you're already on your way to the airport then you'll still be able to check-in as originally planned. Our airport staff will be on hand to ensure that you're well looked after."
Yesterday, Bedfordshire Police said: "We can confirm that controlled explosion has taken place at Luton Airport. Item is safe.
"No-one has been arrested in relation to this incident."
As well as causing flight chaos, with many services either cancelled or diverted, the shutdown led to serious road congestion which spread to the nearby M1.
Hundreds of passengers were left to wait outside the terminal following the evacuation after specialist explosive ordnance disposal officers were called at around 1.36pm yesterday. The item was destroyed at around 5.15pm.
The airport spokesman added: "We would like to thank passengers for their patience and cooperation during this time.
"Passengers are advised to contact their airlines before travelling to the airport to check the status of their flight."
EasyJet had to divert six flights and axe 12 others, with staff providing refreshments to evacuated passengers waiting in the warm autumn sunshine.
A spokesman for easyJet said they expected operations to return to normal this morning.