Security concerns at Cork and Shannon airports

There were concerns last night that security checks at Cork and Shannon airports may be affected by the same deficiencies uncovered at Dublin Airport.

A major security audit on Dublin Airport uncovered serious issues with checks on goods brought on board aircraft by the crew and suppliers of airlines.

It is believed a similar problem may also affect existing security checks at Cork and Shannon, as well as at regional airports.

Ryanair has called for a full explanation from the Dublin Airport Authority and the Department of Transport over the serious deficiency in security at Dublin Airport, which the DAA said will take up to two months to correct.

The airport failed an audit by EU aviation security experts after being handpicked to test new screening regimes at airports.

The failure has resulted in some additional security measures being implemented on aircraft departing from Dublin and arriving at other EU airports.

The DAA admitted yesterday that the audit had uncovered two issues, one which has been resolved. It claimed the other problem was “technical in nature” but does not affect passenger screening or baggage handling.

Both the Department of Transport and the DAA have refused to explain the detail of the lapses on security grounds. However, it is believed the problem relates to security check on goods provided by suppliers to airlines for use on aircraft.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said his department and the DAA would look for full support from suppliers and others operating at Dublin Airport to ensure that standards are met so the additional new security measures can be lifted as soon as possible.

He revealed that the DAA was aware of the problem for over a month but failed to deal with it to the satisfaction of the European Commission.

No extra procedures have been put in place at Cork and Shannon, as they were not subject to an EU audit. However, the DAA declined to comment on whether similar problems would have been found if the two airports had been subjected to similar tests by EU aviation security examiners.

A DAA spokesperson said the additional security measures will not impact on passenger screening at Dublin Airport. However, passengers transferring through other European airports may be required to undergo further security checks at their transit destination.

It is estimated that 6%-8% of all passengers on flights from Dublin may have to undergo the additional screening measures.

It is understood that new, more stringent security standards came into effect between the first and follow-up audit by the EU aviation security examiners at Dublin Airport earlier this year.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said the security failure had placed flights from Dublin at the same security risk as flights from Afghanistan and Somalia.

He said it was unacceptable that the DAA and the Department of Transport failed to explain the nature of the security lapse.


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