Air Canada denies U.S. security chief's assertion that its jets have been focus of any terror plots
U.S. Homeland Secretary John Kelly says there have been countless attempts by terrorists to blow up passenger jets operated by Air Canada and U.S. airlines – plots that have been stopped because of U.S. and Canadian intelligence agencies.
"The most significant threat is a terrorist attack I think on aviation. That seems to be their Stanley Cup playoff. They want to knock down airplanes and they are trying every day to do it," Mr. Kelly told CTV's Power Play on Friday after meeting with senior Trudeau cabinet ministers on Parliament Hill.
"I can't count the number of airplanes that have not been blown up in flight, whether they are United [Airlines] or Air Canada …but I can tell you there are dozens of plots ongoing all the time." Air Canada issued a strong denial that the airline had been the focus of any terrorist plot.
"Air Canada's policy is generally not to discuss issues of security. However there is no truth whatsoever in the suggestion that Air Canada may have been involved in such threats," spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick told The Globe and Mail.
Mr. Kelly would not provide further details, saying the information was classified, but he added that Canada and the United States are considered "hard targets" by terrorists because of the security measures the two countries have put in place and their seamless co-operation on the sharing of information, including on passengers.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale did not deny that there had been terrorist threats against Air Canada when asked about Mr. Kelly's comments.
"No there is not a new specific threat against Air Canada. Obviously if that were to be the case, we would be taking a range of actions, but the secretary was not referring to a new immediate threat."
He acknowledged aircraft terrorism was of high concern but played down the immediate dangers to airline passengers.