By Mary McCool
BBC Scotland news
Passengers were evacuated and flights were cancelled at Glasgow Airport over a suspicious luggage item – which bomb disposal teams found was “innocent”.
Police were called to the scene at about 06:00 and passengers were moved into the car park for two hours.
Staff provided emergency blankets to protect against the cold and handed out water.
Glasgow Airport confirmed 22 flights had been cancelled and three had been diverted.
Police sealed off the central search area and domestic arrivals area before a Royal Navy bomb disposal unit was sent to the scene.
The Explosive Ordnance Disposal team (EOD) team confirmed the item was “innocent in nature”.
A spokesperson said: “Around 05:55 police were called to a report of a suspicious item within the security search hall of Glasgow Airport.
“As a precautionary measure, and in accordance with procedures, the check-in and security search hall areas were closed to the public and a cordon implemented.”
At about 12:30 Police Scotland said passengers were allowed back into the building.
Glasgow Airport said staff had welcomed passengers back into the terminal and provided assistance.
A spokesperson added: “We would like to thank our passengers for their patience.”
Some flights had departed from the airport over the course of the morning.
Mike McPherson, from Glasgow, told the BBC that phone signal kept dropping in and out as passengers checked for flight updates online.
He had been waiting in the car park from 10:00 with a flight booked to London for a conference.
He said many people continued to arrive expecting flights to take off, but there were no announcements provided.
Passengers in ‘good spirits’
Ian Snee and wife Laura, 55, had arrived at the airport at 07:00 and had spent most of the morning waiting outside in the cold.
The couple from Kirriemuir, Angus were due on a 10:45 flight to the Canaries for a cruise.
Ian said: “We stepped off the bus and at that point it didn’t look like anything untoward was happening – but we did notice there wasn’t anyone getting in the building.
“At that point the terminal was full – then we tried further up to get into building and police stopped us. They moved us to car park but we couldn’t get any information.”
Ian said the crowd outside the airport had been in good spirits.
He added. “Staff are going round with emergency blankets to make sure people are warm and we’ve got water.
“Although it’s cold there’s nobody moaning asking why we’re delayed – these things are meant to keep us safe.”
Ian said he was hopeful that they would make their 23:00 sailing.
Summer 2007 attack
By James Shaw, BBC Scotland correspondent
This is not the first time there’s been a security alert at Glasgow Airport.
The most serious was in the summer of 2007 when two men drove a burning Jeep at the main entrance of the departures hall, attempting to use gas cylinders in the vehicle to cause a huge explosion.
They were tackled by staff at the airport, one of whom, John Smeaton, became something of a local hero and was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.
The attack prompted a major rethink of how vehicle access to the airport is managed. Now all traffic apart from buses and taxis are routed away from the front of the building and substantial barriers are in place.
The difficulty for those who try to make public buildings secure is that groups or individuals who want to threaten them will always seek new ways to get round any measures put in place in response to previous attacks.
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