Bomb threats delay flights from Oakland

Three bomb threats delayed Oakland International Airport travelers for up to two hours Monday afternoon, evacuating both terminals as Transportation Security Administration and local law enforcement officers searched a threatened plane.

At approximately 12:45 p.m., the airport received three threats. Southwest Airlines flight 337, set to depart for Los Angeles at 1 p.m., was one of the targets, TSA spokesman Greg Soule said. Two other threats were made, targeting specific parts of the terminal complex, Aviation Marketing Manager Christopher Minner said.

The entire airport was evacuated while the plane was moved to a remote location, emptied and checked for any suspicious devices by members of the TSA, Oakland Police Department and Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

Nothing suspicious was found in either the plane or the terminals; the “all clear” was announced at 2:08 p.m. Employees were allowed back into the terminals shortly afterward to prepare for a rescreening of every passenger, luggage item and plane at the airport.

Southwest Airlines spokesman Chris Mainz said the company’s planes experienced delays up until 5 p.m. Monday. In some cases, flights were delayed for more than two hours, but none were cancelled.

“We’re still playing catch-up,” Mainz said, five hours after the initial threats were received.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said Southwest felt the bulk of the schedule problems, but Oakland airport’s closure likely had a ripple effect on other airports, as departures and arrivals were delayed.

“There were some flights that didn’t get to the gate or couldn’t get away,” Minner said. San Francisco International Airport Duty Manager Mike Towle said SFO was on a heightened security alert, but no changes or delays at the airport were seen. No flights were redirected into San Francisco from Oakland.

The bomb threat is still under investigation.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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