Osama bin Laden’s death could mean longer queues for passengers at Britain’s airports as fears of reprisals result in tougher security checks. Controversial full-body scanners currently being used at Heathrow, Birmingham and Manchester airports could soon start appearing across the rest of the UK, according to ministers.
Civil liberty groups have condemned the machines for producing ‘nude’ images of those who pass through them. The government has also increased restrictions on liquids permitted to be carried onto aircraft. The EU had planned to have the rules relaxed across Europe on 29 April.
Pilot, airport and airline leaders have voiced their concerns that airports could now be under increased threat of attacks following the Al Qaeda leader’s killing. The government is also being urged to become less politically correct about treating all passengers equally and implement a strategy on targeting high risk travellers.
Sir Martin Broughton, chairman of British Airways, last month said a uniform policy was causing airport queues to lengthen and that there was no point in subjecting an airline pilot to the same checks as a student from Yemen. British Airline Pilot’s Association general secretary, Jim McAuslan, said he supported Sir Martin’s comments adding that resources should be used to target those who presented a threat rather than blanketing everybody.
Transec, the security arm of the Department for Transport, said it was currently reviewing its air, sea and land security following Bin Laden’s death. William Hague, the UK foreign secretary, also announced that he was asking British embassies to tighten up security.
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