UK: British airports handled 73 CIA flights

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Article (Guardian, link)

House of Commons written answer from the Secretary of State for Transport, Mr Darling. 17 March 2006:

Aicraft Landings

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions since 1 January 2001 registered aircraft (a) N2189M, (b) N8183J, (c) N970SJ, (d) N129QS, (e) N368CE and (f) N85VM have landedat British airports; and what their (i) origin and (ii) destination was in each case. [57681]

Mr. Darling: None of the information held by my Department provides evidence that these flights were involved in rendition. The British Government is not aware of any cases of rendition through the UK since May 1997, apart from the two cases in 1998 about which the Foreign Secretary has informed Parliament. Since before 9/11 we have worked closely with the US to achieve our shared goal of fighting terrorism. As part of that close co-operation, we have made clear to the US authorities, including in recent months:

(i) that we expect them to seek permission to render detainees via UK territory and airspace (including Overseas Territories);

(ii) that we will grant permission only if we are satisfied that the rendition would accord with UK law and our international obligations, and

(iii) how we understand our obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture.

I refer to my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary's written ministerial statement of 20 January 2006, Official Report, columns 37-8WS and written answer of 6 February 2006, Official Report, column 784-5W.

Foreign aircraft are required by the Chicago Convention to seek the prior permission of the state before operating commercial flights into another country. Aircraft operating commercial flights to and from UK airports need operating permits from my Department. Our database shows that three of these six aircraft have operated commercial flights in the UK since 1 January 2001. Details are given as follows.

Aircraft/date Route


30 June 2003 Paris—Luton
23 February 2005 Washington DC—Stansted—Riyadh
28 May 2005 Stansted—Washington DC
27 June 2005 Luton—Tel Aviv
15 December 2005 Heathrow—Barbados


4 September 20-03 Caracas—Luton
5 February 2004 Madrid—Luton


6 May 2004 Newark—Stansted
24 July 2004 Liverpool—Newark

There is no requirement for operating permits for non-commercial flights. However, a flight plan must be filed for all flights that cross international borders. Flight plans are filed with Eurocontrol and I agreed that they should release data to Dick Marty, Chair of the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee of the Council of Europe, in order to contribute to the inquiry into rendition and 'secret prisons' undertaken by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Eurocontrol released data from all its member states to the Parliament on a confidential basis on 23 January. In agreeing to release I asked for a copy of the UK data which I received in late January. The data shows that four of the six aircraft have also landed in the UK as non-commercial flights. Details are as follows.

Aircraft/date Route


23 March 2003 Stephenville—Prestwick
24 March 2003 Prestwick—Frankfurt Main
20 September 2003 Genova/Sestri—Prestwick
21 September 2003 Prestwick—Gander Intl
3 December 2003 Goose Bay—Prestwick
4 December 2003 Prestwick—Frankfurt Main
18 January 2004 Gander Intl—Prestwick
19 January 2004 Prestwick—Amman/Marka
25 May 2004 Praha/Ruzyne—Prestwick
26 May 2004 Prestwick—Gander Intl


31 May 2003 Frankfurt Main—Prestwick
1 June 2003 Prestwick—Gander Intl
31 August 2003 Gander Intl—Prestwick
1 September 2003 Prestwick—Frankfurt Main
1 January 2004 Frankfurt Main—Prestwick
2 January 2004 Prestwick—Gander Intl
3 May 2004 Gander Intl—Prestwick
4 May 2004 Prestwick—Iraklion Nikos Kazanzakis
2 November 2004 Frankfurt Main—Prestwic

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