8 NOVEMBER 2010
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At the recent CBI conference the normally largely unseen British Airways Chairman Martin Broughton burst forth on the question of airport security. As noted in last week’s AERBT it seemed to this writer that the outburst came from personal frustration, a statement which has not been challenged by BA.
What was in fact a sophisticated rant gained sympathetic response from the media, journalists like every one of us, subjected to airport scrutiny.
And then came British Airways foe Michael O’Leary, actually agreeing with Mr Broughton as he promoted his airline’s latest results. Perhaps some security operative at Stansted had been over zealous with Mr O’Leary, the consequence of a less than friendly flight on an airline not noted for its pleasantries. For once the press found itself in agreement with the Irish raconteur.
In between these two events staff at East Midlands Airport had found a device in a freight movement that could have possibly exploded as close as 70 minutes of the actual find.
Belly cargo can make up as much as 20% in revenue terms of a scheduled airliner’s capacity. The discovery at EMA, and a similar uncovering at Dubai, has ensured a requirement for a complete rethink of air freight security. Cargo is going to have much improved examination in the future.
The outbursts by Messrs Broughton and O’Leary can in many ways be justified. Virtually all of us have been subjected to what we consider unnecessary scrutiny at airports.
AERBT believes that the media (and by inference Messrs Broughton and O’Leary) are out of touch with public opinion. Travellers find airport security a nuisance but something that just has to be tolerated. Even the dreaded shoe inspection goes down as an inconvenience. What would happen if a bomb were to be discovered in a women’s bra?
Hopefully body scanners (as reported last week in AERBT) and more advanced X-ray machines will speed things up and help eliminate the inevitable queue.
Nobody likes the added security. Yes it has to be better and more efficient. But we will just have to be patient.
Editor in Chief