Flint Airport Resumes Operation After Evacuation

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Bishop International Airport in Flint was ordered evacuated for several hours after nine bomb threats were received by telephone, authorities said.

The terminal was ordered evacuated shortly after the threats were called in to the airport's crash, fire and rescue department about 5 p.m. EDT Wednesday, said Tad Hutcheson, vice president of marketing for AirTran Airways, the biggest carrier at Bishop.

"There was a nonspecific bomb threat called into the airport. It did not mention any airline by name," Hutcheson told The Associated Press. "We evaluated the threat. We considered it a nonspecific threat, but we take it seriously nonetheless."

Norm Brewer, a Transportation Security Administration spokesman in Washington, told The AP shortly before 9 p.m., "All is clear in Flint and aviation operations are back to normal."

Brewer said he did not know if any bombs were found or whether there were any suspects or arrests. Dawn Clenney, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Detroit, declined to discuss the investigation in detail.

AirTran Flight 246, with 116 passengers and five crew members aboard, arrived from Atlanta at 5:43 p.m. after the threats had been received.

"When he touched down in Flint, that's when the airport operations advised the captain he had to go to remote parking," Hutcheson said.

Law enforcement officials and emergency crews surrounded the Boeing 717, and passengers were held on the aircraft until about 8 p.m. before being allowed to deplane. The plane was searched and baggage was searched and scanned, Hutcheson said.

An American Eagle flight and a small Cessna plane also were directed to the remote parking lot, the executive said.

Airport spokeswoman Pat Corfman said four or five flights were diverted away from Bishop, but it was not immediately clear where they were sent. Bishop is located about 50 miles from the Lansing airport and 60 miles from Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

The airport's Web site indicated shortly before 10 p.m. that most scheduled flights were on time, but arriving flights from Detroit, Milwaukee and Orlando, Fla., and a departing flight for Milwaukee were delayed.

Bishop handled more than one million passengers last year, according to its Web site. Besides AirTran and American Eagle, it is served by airlines including Northwest, Delta Connection and Continental Connection.

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