EU experts holds emergency aviation security review meeting

EU experts holds emergency aviation security review meeting

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EU government aviation experts are meeting for an emergency security review today on to examine how best to protect “publicly accessible areas”.

It follows last week’s terrorist attack on Belgium’s Zaventem airport when suicide bombers blew themselves up in the check-in hall.

The attack, along with a similar one at a Brussels metro station, left 32 people dead and raised the prospect of bag and body scanners having to be introduced before passengers reach airport check-in desks.

Such a move will be discussed by the European Commission’s committee for civil aviation security at a special meeting on Thursday.

But a source close to the committee said the idea of scanners was “not holding very strong” and was unlikely to be recommended, the Daily Telegraph reported.

UK sources added that no such proposal was on the table and there is concern the move would simply push the risk of a terror target to outside the building rather than inside.

The committee source said the meeting would examine “extending to the security perimeter”, which effectively means entrance hall scanners, but it was also important for there not to be an “over reaction” to last week’s attacks.

“Any review must be proportionate and must not be running behind the terrorist. They cannot be allowed to set the agenda,” he said.

“There was an expansion of the security perimeter at Russian airports after a terror attack there in 2011 but I think it is unlikely to be repeated across Europe.

“The idea is not holding very strong and I do not think there will be many voices in favour.

“A more appropriate response may be how to have more vigilance inside”.

The source added that whatever the outcome of discussions, there will be no Europe wide decision on security because the risks and requirements vary at airports across the region.

The meeting will be attended by officials from each member state, including a representative from the UK Department for Transport, and will act as a working group in the wake of the Brussels attacks.

Any recommendations or outcome will then go forward to a meeting of EU transport ministers in Amsterdam on April 14.

A source added: “It is important to keep in mind that publicly accessible areas located before the security checks (so-called "landside") are not governed by EU rules on aviation security.

“Their protection falls under the jurisdiction of the law enforcement authorities of the member states who are free to introduce any measure they deem appropriate."


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