Thursday, January 7, 2010

Aviation Group Argues Against Enhanced Security Measures

There have been calls for stepped up screening procedures at airports around the world in the wake of the foiled attempt to blow up an Amsterdam to Detroit Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day. But one aviation group is arguing against what it calls "extreme" security measures.

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, which represents 17 airlines, says it's not time now for "knee-jerk reactions." The AAPA is concerned about a rush to impose new security measures of "unproven effectivemess."

The AAPA says additional security measures should only be implemented if the benefits outweigh the burdens.

"Treating each of the six million passengers who fly every day as potential terrorists and subjecting them to virtual strip searches and pat-downs already borders on the absurd, particularly when compared to our approach to public security in other aspects of our daily lives," the group said in a statement.

"Doing so comes at a cost, already measured in 10s of billions of dollars annually."

The AAPA recently released figures showing a slow recovery in global air traffic and air cargo, but said a return to profitability for global airlines was some way off.

"Rather than focus on ever more intrusive passenger screening, the key lesson from this, and previous terrorist incidents, is the critical importance of effective intelligence gathering and analysis," the association said.

AAPA's director-general Andrew Herdman urged governments to cooperate with aviation industry players and "strive for global harmonisation of aviation security measures."

Some European Union nations are also balking at enhancing airport security.

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