DHS Announces New Security Enhancements for Some US-Bound Flights in Wake of Metrojet Crash

The measures will only apply to U.S.-bound flights in the region.

ByABC News
November 6, 2015, 7:09 PM

— -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced today new security enhancements for commercial flights bound for the U.S. from certain foreign airports in the wake of last weekend's deadly Russian jet crash near Egypt's Sharm El Sheikh Airport.

Egyptian authorities said today it was "plausible" the crash was caused by a bomb.

"While there are no direct commercial air flights from Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt to the United States, these enhancements are designed to provide an additional layer of security for the traveling public, and will be undertaken in consultation with relevant foreign governments and relevant passenger and cargo airlines," DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement today. This covers fewer than 10 airports, all of which are in the region.

The enhancements include expanded screening of items on planes and offers of assistance to certain foreign airports, the statement said. The DHS did not elaborate.

"These security enhancements are intended only for certain foreign airports in the region," according to the statement.

DHS is "working closely" with domestic and international partners to evaluate the cause of the crash, the statement said, and will continue to take appropriate precautionary security measures. Johnson said the DHS will "continually assess our aviation security enhancements, and consider whether additional changes are appropriate."

The U.S. is not considering suspending flights in the area at this point, according to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. He said the DHS's safety precautions are what "we believe are necessary."

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said earlier this week that while the investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing, there was a "significant possibility" the crash was caused by a bomb, and Britain has suspended flights to and from the Sinai resort city indefinitely. Russia also said it was suspending flights.

A government official in Sharm El Sheikh told ABC News that Egyptian authorities can no longer dismiss the possibility that a bomb was placed on the plane and, in their mind, it is the most plausible scenario, adding that a technical problem is now at the bottom of their list of possible scenarios.