North America

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

National Security and Data Protection

Since 5 March 2003, an agreement between the European Commission and United States Customs gives the USA online access to passenger name record (PNR) data of all Europe-based airline carriers for flights that go to, from or through the USA. European privacy protection groups are deeply concerned as airline companies disclose Passenger Name Record data to United States authorities without obtaining passengers' explicit consent.

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

Security, Terrorism and Tourists

Since the beginning of March 2003 US immigration authorities are checking all tourists for radioactive material as there is increasing concern of new terrorist activities.

John Downes's picture

September 11th - Flying School receives notice of Approval of Hijackers' Visas

The Huffman international Flying School, where two of the September 11th hyjackers trained, have just received letters from the INS (US Immigration Dept.) that their visa applications have been approved. The INS said that the original approval had been granted on 17 July and that the school had been notified in the summer. These letters were merely a "backup notification". They blamed a backlog of paperwork at their processing centre in Kentucky for the delay. The papers relate to Mohammed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi. Atta is believed to have been the ring-leader of the group.

John Downes's picture

Mir Hotel

Walt Anderson, the US venture capitalist and backer of the Mir Space Station has suggested that the Mir Station could be converted into a tourist attraction. He estimates that the first holiday would cost $40m but thereafter the price would fall to "a more reasonable $20-$25m". Sales of such holidays in the EU would of course be subject to the Package Travel Directive!

John Downes's picture

Legal Action raised in Egypt Air Flight 990 Case

A legal action has been raised by relatives of a Syrian passenger killed as a result of the Egypt Air Flight 990 crash. The action has been raised in New York. The Syrian victim was working as a chef in New Jersey. The action is based on a claim for $50m wrongful death compensation alleging that Egypt Air were in breach of their responsibility to provide the hoghest level of safety to passengers. The action also accuses Boeing of negligence in design, repair and maintenance of the plane.

John Downes's picture

Egypt Air Flight 990

The search for the voice cockpit recorder continues. The plane crashed into the Atlantic soon after taking off from JFK Airport in New York on October 31. All 217 passengers and crew were killed. The US National Transportation Safety Board has made a preliminary report on the flight data recorder. the plane had been cruising normally at 9900 metres (33000 feet) when the autopilot disconnected. Although the plane had previously had a fault with the thrust reverser device, there was no evidence that this device had deployed accidentally.

John Downes's picture

Offer of Compensation

Swissair and Boeing have offered compensation to relatives of the 229 people who died after their flight was lost off the coast of Nova Scotia (Canada) in September 1998. The offer was made in a pre-trial meeting in a Philadelphia federal court. As part of the deal, the relatives would have to waive their "16bn (£10bn) claim for punitive damages. The companies have stressed that this does not amount to an admission of guilt. The case is due for its next hearing on 13 September.

John Downes's picture


The Jamaican army is to be deployed at tourist resorts to crack down on crime and harassment of tourists. The measure followed a recommendation from the Jamaican Hotel and Tourist Association. The Opposition has criticised the measure as detrimental to the country's image and point to a dramatic decrease in the number of crimes against tourists in the last 6 years.

John Downes's picture

Charter Flights

President Clinton announced new measures to increase contact between ordinary US citizens and Cubans. These do not amount to the lifting of the general embargo against the Cuban Government but inter alia permits more charter flights between the two countries. These flights are intended to provide for visits by athletics, social, religious and other groups and are not intended for tourists. The 37 year US ban on tourism continues.