KLM Plane Denied Access To US

April 11, 2005

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US authorities ordered a KLM plane to return to the Netherlands saying two of its passengers were barred from entering US territory or airspace, the airline said.

The incident happened on Friday as the plane, with 278 people on board, was bound for Mexico and due to cross US airspace.

A KLM spokesman said the two passengers were not on any Dutch or European watchlist. He declined to give their nationality or the reasons they were not wanted in the United States.

"This is a precedent. We have never had a similar incident before," the spokesman said.

The remaining passengers flew to Mexico on Saturday on another KLM flight.

KLM is part of Air France KLM.

Airports and airlines have implemented tighter security since the September 11, 2001, hijack attacks on the United States.

Under a deal signed last year, the United States is able to access personal information on every passenger flying from the 25 European Union countries.

(Reuters)