Government promises 'passenger friendly' airport securityAirports to be given more flexibility on checks

15 July 2011

Airport sign directing travellers to the terminal.

Airports are set to be given more flexibility over how they run security systems in a move aimed to reduce inconvenience faced by passengers.

Transport minister Philip Hammond said he wanted to move away from the present 'highly prescriptive' system applied to all airport operators, to one where airports improved security in a more 'passenger friendly' way.

The new system would mean airports would be given the ability to decide for themselves issues such as how many passengers' footwear to check, based on their own risk assessments.

Fewer shoe checks

Under the present system, the government specifies what proportion of passengers must have their footwear checked, according to what type of metal detector each airport uses.

The Department for Transport said it was proposing the changes because the present approach to security had produced a 'blind and reluctant' compliance with the specified security process rather than trying to get the right system for passengers.

The reform will require all airports to produce a security management system showing how they will meet the overall security standards set by the  regulator. Those airports that achieved the 'most robust' security would be given more freedom.

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