NEW YORK (Sep. 13)
Armed Federal plainclothesmen began riding international flights from Kennedy Airport yesterday in accordance with the policy announced by President Nixon to combat “the menace of air piracy.” The first planes with the guards to leave yesterday for Paris belonged to airlines which were victims of guerrilla hijackings last Sunday–Transworld and Pan American. The President announced Friday that specially-trained guards would police both domestic and overseas flights of American-flag airlines and that he had ordered the Transport Department to expand the use of electronic surveillance devices to “gateway” airports, other domestic airports and to overseas terminals of American airlines. He also urged the international community to accept a proposed treaty to extradite or punish hijackers and “to take joint action to suspend airline services with countries which refuse to punish or extradite hijackers.” He said he had asked Secretary of State William P. Rogers to ask the president of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization to call an emergency meeting to consider such “joint action.”
Officials of other airlines refused to give details as to which of their flights would carry the federal guards but other sources said the guards would ride flights to Europe, the Middle East and southeastern United States, which is in range of Cuba. There are an estimated 125 trans-Atlantic flights and 14,730 domestic flights daily in the United States. The first guards have been drawn from the Treasury. Washington sources said that plans called for a force of up to 5,000 guards who will serve as long as necessary.