December 21, 1988
Thirty-eight minutes after takeoff from London, Pan Am Flight 103, en route to New York City, exlplodes over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 aboard and 11 on the ground.
December 23, 1988
Reports surface that on December 5th the U.S. Embassy in Finland received bomb threats against a Pan Am flight originating in Frankfurt sometime before Christmas. Also reported are warnings shared with government and airline officials abroad.
December 28, 1988
British investigators report that a bomb in the luggage compartment caused the explosion.
February 19, 1989
Victims of Pan Am Flgiht 103 is formed by families of those slain. The group would be instrumental in fighting for higher standards of airport security and in publicizing investigation information.
March 14, 1989
Victims of Pan Am Flight 103 testifies in front of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Sub-committee, marking the first congressional hearing into the bombing.
April 3, 1989
On the 103rd day after the bombing, relatives and friends hold a demonstration in front of the White House. Victims of Pan am Flight 103 representatives meet with president Bush to request a congressional investigation into how the U.S. government handled terrorist warnings prior to Pan Am Flight 103.
August 4, 1989
President Bush signs an executive order creating the president's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism with a mission to evaluate aviation security, using Pan Am Flgiht 103 as a starting point.
March 22, 1990
Findings show a Czechoslovak former Communist regime supplied the Libyan government with Semtex, a virtually undetectable explosive which is believed to have been used in the bombing.
May 15, 1990
The President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism issues its report describing the lapses in security by Pan Am and the FAA and decried the lack of 'national will' to fight terrorism. The report contained over 60 recommendations that formed the basis for the Aviation Security Improvement Act of 1990.
June 30, 1990
At Tundergarth, the town just outside Lockerbie where the plane's cockpit came to rest, a Building of Remembrance is dedicated.
October 23, 1990
The Aviation Security Improvement Act of 1990 is unanimously passed by the U.S. Senate. President Bush refers to it as "a living memorial to those whose lives were so cruelly cut short by the terrorists responsible for bombing Pan ASm 103.
March 21, 1991
The Warsaw Convention, governing air carrier liability, precludes recovery of punitive damages in wrongful death actions.
November 15, 1991
Two Libyan intelligence agents, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, are indicted by the U.S. and Scotland. The evidence also suggested involvement by higher-level aides to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
December 4, 1991
Pan American World Airways ceases operations.
January 21, 1992
A resolution to force Libya to surrender the two suspects is approved by the U.N. Security Council.
April 15, 1992
The U.N. ceases all air transport links with Libya and bans sales of arms and aircraft to it for its refusal to extradite the two accused Libyans.
April 27, 1992
The civil trial against Pan Am by the relatives of the victims begins.
July 10, 1992
Pan Am is found guilty of "willful misconduct" that permitted the bombing by a Federal District Court jury. The families of the victims are now free from the restrictions of the Warsaw Convention, permitting them to sue Pan Am for damages.
March 18, 1993
Libya offers to turn the suspects over to a neutral country for a trial.
November 11, 1993
To force the extradition of two suspects in the bombing, the Security Council tightens trade sanctions against Libya.
December 21, 1994
Libya proposes that a Scottish court conduct the trial at the International Court of Justice in the Hague, Netherlands.
March 23, 1995
The FBI announces a $4 million reward for the two suspects charged with the bombing, and says it plans a world-wide search for information, seeking help in bringing the terrorists to justice.
March 27, 1995
The Clinton Administration announces that it will ask the U.N. to impose a world-wide oil boycott against Libya in retaliation for their refusal to turn over the two suspects.
August 5, 1996
President Clinton signs legislation imposing harsh economic sanctions on companies that make future investments in Iranian and Libyan petroleum ventures and vows to wage an international battle against terrorism.
June 7, 1997
Libya makes an appeal to the families of the victims, declaring that they will enter into negotiations over procedures for handling over the two suspects, stating that the trial can be held anywhere except the U.S. or U.K.
April 5, 1998
The Security Council announces the suspension of sanctions.
April 15, 1998
Victims' families urge U.K. and the U.S. to accept the trial in a neutral country before an international panel headed by a Scottish judge.
August 24, 1998
The U.S. and U.K. propose to convene a Scottish court in the Netherlands in an effort to bring the two Libyan agents to trial.
August 26, 1998
Libya accepts the U.S. and British plan to put the two suspects on trial in the Netherlands. Moammar Gadhafi demands guarantees that the suspects won't be turned over to Britain.
February 14, 1999
U.N. officials learn that Libya has agreed to the terms of the trial of the two Libyans in a Scotish court.
April 5, 1999
The two suspects are handed over to Scottish authorities in the Netherlands. This action enables the Security Councel to suspend the U.N. economic sanctions against Libya.
April 6, 1999
The two suspects are formally charged in the bombing.
May 3, 2000
Trial begins at Kamp van Zeist in the Netherlands.