BA Chairman Hits Out At Airport Security
1:17pm UK, Wednesday October 27, 2010
Osman Baig, Sky News Online
The aviation industry has backed a call by the chairman of British Airways for a radical overhaul of airport security checks.
Martin Broughton said some parts of the security programme are “completely redundant” and Britain should stop “kowtowing” to the US every time it wants something done.
He was speaking at the annual conference of the UK Airport Operators Association in London.
Mr Broughton said people should not be forced to take off their shoes or have laptops checked separately when checking in for flights.
Nor was there any need to pander to the Americans especially when it involves checks they do not impose on their own domestic routes.
Mr Broughton, who is also the chairman of Liverpool FC, said: “We should say, ‘We’ll only do things which we consider to be essential and that you Americans also consider essential’.
Mr Broughton says Britain should stop pandering to the United States
“We all know there’s quite a number of elements in the security programme which are completely redundant and they should be sorted out.”
Mike Carrivick, chief executive of Bar UK, which represents more than 80 scheduled airlines in the UK, agreed the issue of airport security needs to be addressed.
“There seems to be a layered approach to security at airports. Every time there is a new security scare, an extra layer is added on to procedures,” he said.
“We need to step back and have a look at the whole situation.”
Colin Matthews, chief executive of airport operator BAA, said passengers would be better served if checks were “rationalised”.
Current Airport Security Checks
“What we do in security in Heathrow and other airports is defined by the authorities and it’s really one requirement laid on top of another,” he said.
“We could certainly do a better job for customers if we can rationalise them.”
Sky News reporter Amy Lewis said the Department for Transport has indicated it is working on a new security framework and more details would emerge in the coming months.
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said he was aware of concerns about airport security, saying it would “remain a continuing challenge to the industry”.
He added: “I intend to develop a new regulatory system – one that frees up operators to devise the security processes needed to deliver them in line with EU requirements.”
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Airport security around the world has increased since 9/11, and the US further tightened checks in January weeks after the alleged Christmas Day bomb plot.
These included body pat-down searches and carry-on baggage checks for passengers arriving from 14 nations which authorities consider a security risk.
Mr Broughton said that no-one wanted poor security but added: “We all know there’s quite a number of elements in the security programme which are completely redundant and they should be sorted out.”
He said confusion over whether the iPad is a laptop or not, thereby requiring further examination, was one example of inconsistencies.
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