British anti-terrorist police say they have disrupted as plot to blow up an aircraft in mid-flight and have arrested up to 18 people.
No hand luggage is being permitted onto aircraft cabins.
It is alleged the aim was to detonate devices smuggled on board aircraft in hand luggage flying to the US.
The emergency will effect flight schedules and result in cancellations.
Aer Lingus has said that London's Heathrow Airport has been closed to all short haul flights.
The airline has recommended that passengers cancel all non-essential travel to British Airports .
It has set up a telephone service for passengers affected by this mornings disruption.
The number is 0818 365 004
The United States has meanwhile raised it's security threat level to 'severe' in response to the alert.
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