Airlines oppose passenger screening

Airlines are opposed to screening passengers just before they enter an airport, with such steps — widely proposed after the March 22 bombings in Brussels — likely to increase waiting times and prove ineffective in preventing attacks, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said at its annual conference in Dublin yesterday.

Carriers instead favour the streamlining of security through a risk-based approach and wider adoption of more modern systems including self-service technology that would raise the hurdles facing would-be terrorists, said IATA chief Tony Tyler.

The trade body takes the view that curbside screening would not only lengthen lines and expose travellers to inclement weather outside the terminal, but also create large crowds that could themselves become the target of attacks.

Mr Tyler said states should make full use of “known-traveller” data provided by carriers.

Used mainly in the US, such programmes expedite processing of frequent flyers so that security is focused on the most likely transgressors, he said.

IATA also backs risk-assessment of passengers by providing governments with advance information on customers, Mr Tyler said.

“The current system of airport screening is effective but extremely expensive,” he said. “Passengers routinely rate it as the worst aspect of their journey.”

Rising traveller volumesare another reason for seeking smoother processing, with existing mechanisms unlikely to cope with increases, he said.


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