Coming soon: tighter security for domestic flights?

Coming soon: tighter security for domestic flights?

Domestic Australian flights could soon face similar security restrictions to international services in the wake of an alleged terrorist plot to plant a bomb onto an Etihad flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi.

Stricter identity checks are said to be a central part of the security clampdown, which would see travellers required to show photo ID before boarding their flight.

Liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) in carry-on luggage for flights within Australia could also face the same limits as for flights overseas.

Also under consideration: allowing only people holding a valid boarding pass past the security gates at domestic airport terminals.

"Aviation security settings are constantly monitored and evaluated by experts in the field who provide advice to the government," federal transport minister Darren Chester told media over the weekend.

"Security measures are kept under constant review to ensure they remain effective and proportionate to the Australian security environment and respond to new and emerging threats.”

David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

22 Comments

  • aniljak

    aniljak

    8 Aug, 2017 08:28 am

    Showing photo id will make little difference  in preventing terrorism. Just means name on booking matches name on id shown. So we will know the terrorists  name earlier after event occurs! Details need to be checked against police/ asio data bases. 
    How are we going to do photo id checks for children, disabled and elderly  who don't  have driver licences?
    Showing any id only works if person doing check in does job correctly. Despite handing over my E-ticket, a Virgin  check in agent managed to tag my bags and issue me a boarding  pass in someone  elses name!
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  • GradyTheHorse

    GradyTheHorse
    Banned

    8 Aug, 2017 09:00 am

    Hyperbole aside, it's ridiculous you can board a plane without showing ID at any stage in the process.

     
    As to your point about checking passenger records against databases, the airlines are already co-operating on this front. Checking IDs will "close the loop", so to speak.
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  • Alex_upgrade

    alex_upgrade77

    9 Aug, 2017 03:11 pm

    I see your points, but perhaps there's an argument that the Virgin check in person would less likely have made that error if they had an ID in front them with your name and photo on it?
     
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  • traveller90

    traveller90

    13 Aug, 2017 06:35 am

    Simple! All travellers will need to have, and have available to them, photo identification to travel, whether it be an updated Medicare Care card with photo or the return to the Australia Card for all residents. This is the way of the future - all others will of course have photo identification from their respective countries ie: passports. Visiting restrictions to the airport when not travelling, many countries already have this process in place - we have simply been fortunate to have had this available until now. Changes we will all need to embrace to keep the skies safe.
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  • fftraveltimes

    fftraveltimes

    8 Aug, 2017 08:36 am

    Only allowing people with boarding passes beyond security? Yes that would kill off Qantas and Virgins boarding room hire spaces. Not to mention those who simply want to come and have a coffee with their loved ones before take off. 

    I understand some measures should be taken but this is a tad overkill and doesn't completely address the issue (hello fake IDs). More another band-aid solution. 
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  • mviy

    mviy

    8 Aug, 2017 09:17 am

    It could be that they have a similar situation to LAX where an airline can issue you a boarding pass to get you access to the terminal so long as you arrange it a sufficient time in advance.

    Or we could find a number of sales of cheap fares to those who have no intention of flying but just want to have a coffee past security with those who are travelling.

    If they don't get it right initially then we can only hope that things get relaxed a bit later.
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  • reeves35

    reeves35

    8 Aug, 2017 10:01 am

    This is hardly unique.  Already in the US and Schengen Europe, only boarding pass holders can go airside of security.  It would affect the retail concessions at domestic airports which, these days, all tend to be airside (except T3 in MEL)  but it would greatly reduce security queues as well as enabling greater scrutiny of those going through security. 
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  • tattyhead

    tattyhead

    10 Aug, 2017 07:38 am

    It seems pretty dumb to allow people who are not flying to add to the queues for security.  If it reduces the queues for those of us that actually need to fly then I'm all for it
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  • Lala295

    Lala295

    8 Aug, 2017 08:53 am

    As a plane spotter I'd pay for the cheapest ticket just to get into the Qantas Heritage Collection, then not board my flight. 
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  • Alex_upgrade

    alex_upgrade77

    9 Aug, 2017 03:16 pm

    Or perhaps buy a fully flexible refundable business ticket, check in to get through security (and into the business lounge) and then call reservations to change date? 
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  • kimshep

    kimshep

    8 Aug, 2017 09:23 am

    Having followed this topic closely in the media, a number of press reports have pointed to a far more critical element of airport operations on which discussion is significantly lacking.

    It has been stated that only some 60% of airside staff  regularly undergo security checking. If this is true, then one would think that this should be the first security hole to be repaired.

    By all means - then - subsequently impose an over-riding rule on the general public to provide ID at check-in. But remember the old adage .. keep your friends close .. and your enemies even closer.

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  • stoffel

    stoffel

    8 Aug, 2017 06:46 pm

    Your point about screening air side staff is valid, and in my opinion a FAR bigger safeguard than checking passenger ID etc. This is a major hole in security yet for some reason is never addressed.

    I worked as a baggage handler at a major international airport for three years and not once was I scanned or checked when going air side. Ridiculous.
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  • Djet

    Djet

    8 Aug, 2017 09:47 am

    I'm amazed you don't have to show ID. At least the crackdown would stop the scam whereby multiple people book flights at different dates under one person's name to maximise the FF status! 
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  • GradyTheHorse

    GradyTheHorse
    Banned

    8 Aug, 2017 04:52 pm

    Come on mate, how many people do you really think would commit a serious fraud like that just for some more status credits? No one would be that stupid.

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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    9 Aug, 2017 03:47 pm

    ID checks do nothing, at all, for security. It is a pointless waste of time to do so. The only reason ID checks are done are for airline revenue protection.
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  • Dave

    Grannular

    8 Aug, 2017 09:53 am

    Liquid's restrictions would be a pain I think. I only ever use carry on when flying domestic, so can't check liquids.
    I also wonder how it will work for duty free alcohol when connecting from an international flight.
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  • sgb

    sgb

    8 Aug, 2017 09:58 am

    Having a coffee with someone before takeoff will be very time consuming and very expensive by the time parking is paid for. I can't believe people still do this. I can see the day this will be banned in Domestic.
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  • Kozimer

    Kozimer

    8 Aug, 2017 03:13 pm

    what about people who have to drop off kids travelling alone or sending an elderly relative on a flight? Sometimes, you need to make sure your charges get on the plane.
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  • simon drakeley

    drsimon50

    8 Aug, 2017 04:07 pm

    coming from europe myself where there is no such thing as non-flyers being allowed past security i still find it very odd that its allowed here - took some time to get used to as well. But surely if security is to be tightened then this practice of allowing whoever wants to go airside through should be stopped - would make getting through security a lot quicker! drive people to the airport - drop them off/ pick them up - but do people really need to go and watch them get on/off the plane itself?
    Member who gave thanks

    reeves35

  • xtfer

    xtfer

    8 Aug, 2017 10:32 am

    How many terrorist incidents in Australia have been prevented by stricter rules at the terminal vs timely action by our security agencies? I think the answer is "none".
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  • Jon W

    Jon W

    8 Aug, 2017 04:40 pm

    Personally I would not like to see air travel becoming more dehumanised. I think Australia has it right and the US and Europe have it wrong, TBH. I also think Europe may not be the best example, given most flights have been traditionally international anyway, not truly domestic (yes, yes EU - but it's not the same). 

    When my family come down to visit or I go up to visit them we quite often use our guest passes to the lounge to hang out (esp. when it's the grandparents for grandchildren or aunties/uncles etc) just before the flight has to depart. It's a nice way to end the visit. 

    As several have mentioned above, a lot of the restrictions are just ineffective security theatre, and there are real and effective (but "boring" and therefore not politically useful) areas that should be improved (e.g. staff security checks) before tokenistic stuff like liquid restrictions or stopping family having a coffee together before flights should be considered. 
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  • GBRGB

    GBRGB

    8 Aug, 2017 04:53 pm

    It will render the Qantas meeting rooms useless if you have to hold a boarding pass to get past security, same as half the coffee shops etc inside the terminal, half of them will close.
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  • GradyTheHorse

    GradyTheHorse
    Banned

    8 Aug, 2017 04:58 pm

    You're getting a bit far ahead of things here. The changes haven't even been proposed yet. If they do ultimately become implemented, it is an obvious move for airlines to move some meeting rooms landside, for more amenities to pop-up landside, etc. 

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  • CRAIG HARDIE

    craigj77

    8 Aug, 2017 05:58 pm

    Only letting those travelling proceed through security sounds like a no brainer on this. Would mean fewer people being  screened and less chance of mistakes. 
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  • highflyer

    highflyer

    9 Aug, 2017 03:27 am

    But usually the terrorist want to get Onboard an aircraft to do damage in flight, so they would have bought a ticket anyways and have a boarding pass which would allow them through security... doesn't really prevent anything if you only allow those travelling through security.
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    9 Aug, 2017 04:02 pm

    Terrorists no longer want to get on aircraft. Few even target aircraft anymore, and those that do have not gone through security screening like passengers, they have used airport staff to bypass screening altogether.

    What they are targeting, are the soft targets ground side. The masses of people at check in areas or the checkpoint itself.

    [Redacted by admin]

    Nothing 'extra' the TSA does in the US at the checkpoint, or in many parts of Europe, such as ID checks, shoes off and liquid limits do anything to improve security. If anything, they make everyone LESS safe because the screeners spend all their time looking for things that are NOT threats instead of looking for things that are.
    There is a reason TSA has a 95% failure rate.

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    9 Aug, 2017 04:16 pm

    We encourage all AusBT readers to have their say, although posting a step-by-step list of how a would-be terrorist might execute an airport attack isn't something that should be posted here, even when done purely to illustrate an example.

    The admin team has removed such an example from the post above, and we must ask that the same is not posted here again: otherwise, we'll need to refer the comment to the Australian Government.
    Member who gave thanks

    lafleche

  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    9 Aug, 2017 11:26 pm

    The recent Sydney EY plot involved someone (allegedly and unwittingly) carrying the device onto the aircraft. So this is still a thing - bringing down an aircraft is a big win in the eyes of the sicko terrorists.
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  • Steve987

    Steve987

    8 Aug, 2017 06:03 pm

    A work around can be found for the meeting rooms - surely not hard at all and not enough to prevent a change that is intended to improve flyer safety.

    As has been said above, I do find it odd that people can board flights without proving they are who they say they are first. The liquids piece would be a challenge possibly, though the market would respond and resized toiletries etc would soon be available (if not already, which I doubt).
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    9 Aug, 2017 04:06 pm

    The liquids thing is a waste of time and money. There is no reason for such a ban at all.
    The so called "plot" that lead to the limits was not in any operational planning stage. The idea of getting a liquid bomb to the airport is laughable. It is simply not possible. Liquid bombs are not stable. Such a device would not make it to the airport without going off on the way. They can't be made at the airport as they require lab condtions to do so.
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  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    9 Aug, 2017 11:27 pm

    You are clearly the world's foremost expert on aircraft-related terrorism. 
    Member who gave thanks

    JJJJJJJ

  • mitchimus

    mitchimus

    8 Aug, 2017 06:28 pm

    surely the issue is what gets on the plane or past security NOT whom. Showing ID doesn't make anyone safer in and of itself. As long as screening is done well it should not be an issue who is at the gate.
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  • AlexTravAddict

    AlexTravAddict

    8 Aug, 2017 07:01 pm

    On a recent flight from Gatwick to Madrid I was told I needed to put a 20g sachet of nutella into a clear snap lock bag because it was considered a liquid or gel. And failure to do so could result in a 45 minute wait while I underwent additional screening. My point being that we should start worrying about things that are important - not just smoke and mirrors.

    Domestic travel in Australia is generally very easy and convinent and I personally don't want it to become more complicated just so some bureaucrat can be seen as doing something. I've got news for you.... if you have the ability to blow up a plane or commit a major security incident, then you have the resources to create a fake ID. In fact I would argue that identity checks would make travelling less safe as they will divert resources away from security issues that are far more important.

    I can't imagine a scenario where an ID check would actually tangibly prevent a major security incident (unless of course we are talking full customs style passport checks with fingerprints, biometrics, etc, which would be a disaster for domestic aviation with questionable benefits).
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  • lind26

    lind26

    8 Aug, 2017 08:31 pm

    The more security the better, and the more ID checks too the better. It's never made sense to me that domestic should have less checks than International.
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    9 Aug, 2017 04:09 pm

    Passport checks for international flights have nothing to do with security. They are for immigration reasons. The airline has to make sure the people they are transporting have the necessary documents to enter the country they are flying to. If they transport someone who does not have the needed paperwork, the airline is liable and will be fined, while also being required to return the passenger home when they are deported.

    ID is not security.
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  • lind26

    lind26

    9 Aug, 2017 05:12 pm

    Referring to fluids etc, not immigration and passports.
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    9 Aug, 2017 06:34 pm

    The checks you suggest don't do anything to improve sercuity. The liquid limits are based on a myth.
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  • aniljak

    aniljak

    9 Aug, 2017 08:24 am

    Interesting  that most people favour  id checks for domestic flights. Seems favoured method is show your driver's license. However nobody - government, airlines, or police, has answered the question of how to do photo id for children, disabled, and elderly who dont drive. Do we have to introduce  the Australia  Card. Anybody got any suggestions?
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  • Jon W

    Jon W

    9 Aug, 2017 12:11 pm

    Virgin always ask us to show our Medicare card for our daughter. Serves as both ID for her, but also that she is in fact our daughter
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    9 Aug, 2017 04:11 pm

    Suggestions? Not checking ID at all. It isn't needed.
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  • JJJJJJJ

    JJJJJJJ

    19 Aug, 2017 10:20 am

    Of course ID is needed. If the plane crashes you want to know who's on it. ID is only partially a security measure, there are other valid reasons for ID.
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  • Bob Burgess

    Bob Burgess

    9 Aug, 2017 09:40 am

    Not a fan of international-style LAG restrictions as I enjoy bringing back some bottles of Margaret River red each time I visit Perth for work. Also restricting terminal access to actual flyers is going to be a big problem in Sydney as there's not a lot of eating options in the 'public' area of T2 or T3, in fact T2 has everything behind security.
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  • reeves35

    reeves35

    9 Aug, 2017 10:23 am

    Yes, this is the situation in most domestic terminals around AU except T3 in MEL but it does come back to the fundamental question, what is the purpose of an airport?  If it is to be an expensive shopping mall then let everyone airside to spend their money on prices much higher than the nearest shopping mall.  If it is to be a safe place where people travel to and from then the answer is to restrict access and maximise security vetting on all those who clear security and and have significant visible security (paramilitary with automatic weapons) in unsecured areas.  
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  • Dean M

    iflyineconomy

    9 Aug, 2017 09:43 am

    It's 2017, surely we should be thinking of moving towards electronic identification that includes the persons biometrics, this would allow the use of biometric scanning to confirm identity. Advantages of this would also be having all travel documentation connected with your electronic ID thus reducing the need for physical documents, passports etc.

    Further to this we should also be including full body scan and particle detection for every passenger domestically and internationally.

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  • reeves35

    reeves35

    9 Aug, 2017 10:25 am

    Full body scans is essential and is typical in airports such as AMS.  It is only possible if the number of people clearing security is reduced and that has to be by restricting access to boarding pass holders only.
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  • Dean M

    iflyineconomy

    9 Aug, 2017 11:50 am

    Completely agree with your sentiments, I also believe this also must tie in with much greater scrutiny of staff, luggage, cargo and security personnel at airports.

    In my opinion, Australians are too relaxed about the threat. We should be vigilant, the threat is only growing and will continue to grow in this country and near by region in the future.

    Member who gave thanks

    lafleche

  • Himeno

    Himeno

    9 Aug, 2017 04:15 pm

    Full body scans are pointless. They don't work, are easy to get around (they have large blind spots) and have excessive false positives.
    Body scanners just another example of pointless unneeded theater.
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  • mjduckby89

    mjduckby89

    9 Aug, 2017 05:45 pm

    Do you have any evidence for your claim?
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  • bl812

    bl812

    9 Aug, 2017 03:17 pm

    stop letting visitors to enter beyond the check in area-all those idiots who can't wait 10 minutes but have to go to the gate to greet whomever they want-they also keeping up real travelling people
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  • Orus Picarous

    oruspicarous

    9 Aug, 2017 03:49 pm

    NO matter what may happen, non-flyers will always be allowed to go inside the terminal until security. Otherwise who's gonna pay for parking?
    Member who gave thanks

    Debs

  • patrickk

    patrickk

    9 Aug, 2017 06:15 pm

    Dear oh dear,
    It seems the days of 'meet and greet are passed'. Of course it is natural and human to see people off as close to the plane as possible so letting people in with photo ID (no boarding pass) makes sense. In the US I have seen the whole palaver at an airport with two 40 seat flights a day (what a waste). As for the liquids story (without giving anything away) a bomb is made with mixing multiple liquids not a single rule (hence the rule) so why not check everybody.
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  • jorgb

    jorgb

    9 Aug, 2017 06:41 pm

    There is diminishing returns on increasing airport security, even to the point where it can undermine security.
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  • David D

    onemoretrip

    9 Aug, 2017 11:09 pm

    The article focuses on passengers, but what about the security of freight, food and other materials entering airports? If airport workers don't need to show ID as suggested above then perhaps this could be looked into?
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  • PHILLIP

    PHILLIP

    10 Aug, 2017 08:38 pm

    I am surprised Australia still allows people airside in a domestic terminal when they are not travelling.
    I understand it may be nice to have a coffee and  spend some more special time together before boarding, but, really, as a matter of security coming from someone who travels a lot , I honestly think that it should be passengers only on that side of security and if you don;t have some kind of Government issued ID then you should not be able to check in.
    ID could be a drivers license, passport, student ID card, over 18 card, etc. There are many types - for people with young children it could cause an inconvenience , but, a passport is not too difficult to apply for. 
    Some countries require residents of that country to have an ID card -  many South East Asian Countries are an example of that. I believe parts of Europe could be the same.
    If Australia introduced this system, it could act as not only a convenient form of ID, but, also it could be connected to other departments to inform check in agents and security personnel of ones history. 
    Foreigners: 
    All foreigners should be photographed and have fingerprints taken at their port of entry. America,Thailand,Japan and many other countries use this system.
    For foreigners coming to Australia arriving on any type of visa apart from sightseeing,  a foreigners ID card showing visa status, passport number, residing address, employer details, type of employment and landlords / real estate agency leasing name would enhance security checks for Boarder Security.
    Foreigners would have to produce this ID card every time they arrive and depart in Australia as long as their visa and employment status hasn't changed or expired.
    Also, foreigners should  not be able to open a bank account in Australia without a foreigners ID card. 

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17 Oct, 2017 10:19 pm

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