The U.S. government is banning all liquids, gels and aerosols from carry-on luggage on flights between the U.S. and Russia, tightening security as the Winter Olympics get under way in Sochi.
The restrictions that emerged Thursday follow a U.S. advisory on Feb. 5 warning airlines that terrorists might hide bomb-making material in toothpaste tubes that could be assembled into an explosive device during flight or later.
“The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has directed that no liquids, gels, aerosols and powders of any size be permitted on board flights between the United States and the Russian Federation in any passenger cabin of service,” Delta Air Lines Inc., the only major U.S. carrier with regular service to Russia, said on its website. The prohibition is temporary and doesn’t apply to checked luggage.
The Olympics officially open Friday in Sochi under tight security, as Russian authorities respond to threats of terror strikes by Islamic militants. The Black Sea resort is just a few hundred miles from the North Caucasus region where Russia has been battling Islamic extremists.
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Three carriers operate a total of five daily departures from the U.S. to Russia each day, according to Houston-based FlightAware, an industry data tracker.
Atlanta-based Delta has one daily departure to Moscow from John F. Kennedy International Airport, and OAO Aeroflot has one flight each from New York, Miami and Los Angeles. Singapore Airlines Ltd. flies to Moscow from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, FlightAware Operations Vice President Mark Duell said in a telephone interview. OAO Transaero lists three flights weekly from New York.
Morgan Durrant, a spokesman for Delta, said he couldn’t comment beyond what is posted on the company’s website.
United Continental has been running Olympic charters to Sochi from New Jersey’s Liberty Airport, with four flights through Feb. 5 since Jan. 25, Duell said.