There is travel chaos this afternoon as all incoming flights to Luton airport have been diverted or suspended, the airport evacuated and approach roads closed.

A security alert was issued after a suspicious item was found in the security search area and the bomb disposal team were scrambled to the scene.

Sources in the area have reported that the alert was caused when a suitcase that had already been checked in was flagged up by the security scanner. An airport spokeswoman said: “London Luton Airport has evacuated the terminal building after a suspicious item was found in the security search area. The decision has been taken with the police to ensure the safety and security of passengers and staff.

There are chaotic scenes outside Luton airport

There are chaotic scenes outside Luton airport

“Further updates regarding the security and operations at the airport will be provided as soon as possible. Passengers are advised to contact their airlines to establish the status of their flights. We understand passengers will be frustrated by the delays they are experiencing.

“We are working closely with the police to ensure passengers are not inconvenienced unnecessarily but we must ensure that the safety and security of all our passengers and staff remains our top priority.”

EasyJet issued a statement: “Currently passengers are unable to board or disembark flights. easyJet will work with the airport to ensure that our passengers can return to the terminal as soon as possible. Whilst this is out of our control we apologise for the inconvenience caused and would like to thank passengers for their patience and co-operation.”

The bomb disposal squad is on site

The bomb disposal squad is on site

The airport closure follows recent events in Syria and Iraq causing the UK to raise its terrorism alert to its second-highest level; authorities have said that Islamic State (IS) fanatics pose the Britain’s greatest-ever security threat.

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