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Airlines tire of tight security

By Michael Flux     Filed under: British Airways, Security, airport security, european union, michael broughton, shoe bomber, underwear bomber, full body scanners, airport scanners, air travel, michael roberts

Passengers aren't the only ones getting annoyed with the strict, time-consuming security checks at American airports. Carriers, airlines and government bodies have weighed in with their own concerns that the measures are expensive in both time and money, without a proportional increase in safety.

These measures include having to remove shoes to be scanned, throwing away all bottles more than 100mls in volume, and walking through a revealing full body scanner.

Europe starts swinging

Michael Broughton, chairman of British Airways, told press at the UK Airport Operators annual conference that parts of America’s program were “completely redundant and they should be sorted out”.

The Financial Times reports a large number of airlines have echoed Broughton's sentiments. These include Germany's Lufthansa, Iberia of Spain, Ireland's national carrier Ryanair and UK-based EasyJet. BAA, the UK’s largest owner of airports, has also backed the chairman’s point of view.

Even the European Union has voiced its opinions on the matter, and it’s not taking the side of the stars and stripes. Spokesman Michele Cercone told the New York Times that the measures represent “a burden for European citizens”.

Anger has also been heard from individual airline staff. As readers might remember, Express Jet pilot Michael Roberts gained international attention when he refused to undergo a body scan or receive a pat-down earlier this month. Roberts was stood down by his employer and hasn't flown an aircraft since. He's currently suing the US government for breaches of his constitutional rights.

Despite the controversy, the Australian government is pushing ahead with plans to install the scanners as a part of its own significant upgrades.  

The rise of air travel limits

Measures have been strict in the States since 9/11, and have only become more intricate since. The failed "shoe-bomber" attack of December 2001 created the requirement for passengers to have their shoes scanned for explosives while they walk in socks or bare feet through security.  

More recently another unsuccesful attempt from an "underwear-bomber" in December 2009 has led to the widespread use of the notorious full-body scanners.  

While terrorism remains a real threat, growing dissatisfaction and increased calls for measures to be reviewed could lead to major changes happening soon. On the other hand, another terrorist attack occurring on an airline could make things even worse.

In the meantime, those who buy the 11-inch Macbook Air have a small bonus. Like iPads, they're small enough to go through security without the usual checks required by notebooks.

[Financial Times]


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1 on 5/6/12 by AusraliaHouses



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