Austin Bergstrom Airport Police Investigate Suspicious Package

AUSTIN (AP) -- Four airline ticket counters and other parts of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport were temporarily shut down and evacuated Friday morning as police investigated a suspicious package, a spokeswoman said.

Ticket counters and curbside check-ins for American Airlines, America West, Continental and United were closed, as was an upper-level road next to the airport terminal.

Police later determined the package, which was found abandoned by a security employee about 8:15 a.m. at a United curbside check-in, contained a homemade model airplane refueler, said airport spokeswoman Leslie Schneiweiss.

The package included a battery, battery pack, pump and a container to hold fuel, she said.

''So, obviously, that caused reason for suspicion,'' she said. ''They don't know who left it or why it was left.''

Once the contents of the package were identified, operations at the airport began returning to normal about noon, Schneiweiss said.

Throughout the investigation some planes continued to take off on schedule, although some flights were delayed. A lower-level road next to the terminal remained open. Passengers who had boarding passes were allowed to continue entering security checkpoints.

''The airport never did shut down. It was normal operations as best as possible,'' Schneiweiss said.