UK airports increase security after failed Detroit bombing

Hotel News - 07/01/2010

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In response to the failed Detroit Airport bombing incident, the UK will step up its airport security by increasing pat down searches, adding more sniffer dogs and implementing stricter inspections of hand luggage in all terminals.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson warned passengers that flights might be delayed as airports adapt the latest security procedures, which will include the temporary detaining of passengers for further scrutiny if they act suspiciously and the installation of full body scanners at Heathrow Airport.

Announcing the changes, Johnson said that no single security procedure could be 100 per cent effective against determined and innovative terrorists. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian national, nearly brought down the Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight 253 on Christmas Day when he tried to blast off an explosive in his underwear. The man had successfully brought the bomb through airport security in Lagos and Amsterdam, where his flight began.

The home secretary further stated that passengers are already accustomed to being patted down and having their hand luggage checked for explosives. Johnson is optimistic that the travelling public will understand the reasons behind all the inspections and recent flight delays.

Johnson also tried to relieve privacy fears over the installation of full body scanners at the UK airports. Earlier, critics warned that the use of the new scanners could violate the country’s child protection laws. The first scanners will placed at Heathrow Airport within three weeks.

BAA, the owner of Heathrow Airport and the UK’s largest operator, however stated that it supports the use of scanners. The operator believes that body scanning and other technologies will enhance the airport’s security.

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