Airline chief blasts US security demands

2010-10-27 11:48

London - The chairman of British Airways has criticised airport checks as "completely redundant" and said Britain should stop "kowtowing" to US demands for increased security, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

The newspaper quoted Martin Broughton as saying at the annual conference of the UK Airport Operators Association in London on Tuesday that no one wanted weak security.

Broughton said, however, the practice of forcing people to take off their shoes and have their laptops checked separately in security lines should be ditched.

"We all know there's quite a number of elements in the security programme which are completely redundant," he said.

Broughton said there was no need to "kowtow to the Americans every time they wanted something done" to beef up security on US-bound flights, especially when this involved checks the United States did not impose on its own domestic routes.

"America does not do internally a lot of the things they demand that we do. We shouldn't stand for that," he said.

"We should say, 'We'll only do things which we consider to be essential and that you Americans also consider essential'."

The Financial Times said Broughton's comments reflected broader industry and passenger frustration over the steady accumulation of rules on everything from onboard liquids to hand baggage that had been adopted since the September 11 2001 attacks.

No comment on Broughton's remarks was immediately available from British government or airport officials.

  • Sensible - 2010-10-27 12:00

    Finally... Some sense

  • M - 2010-10-27 12:24

    Mmmm, some things about the US airport security certainly to not add up. Surely with all of these fancy new x-ray machines they could see right through shoes without taking them off. But having said that, US security isn't nearly as scary as we thought it would be, but then again perhaps I just went prepared such as wearing takkies that had velcro fasteners for both myself and my 3 children. I think we had more stringent security checks at both ORTIA on our way out and when we stopped over in Dakar. Now that was a pain in the you-know-what.

  • Regular flyer - 2010-10-27 12:53

    Indeed. The rules are too strict.

  • A - 2010-10-27 13:32

    A few years ago when we were in the US,The security checks were performed on people with dark complexion or if you had a muslim name or if you were Cuban. My mother had to take off her sandals for inspection!!! Pure Racism!!!! If only people could see the true colours of the U.S!!

  • Not Fooled - 2010-10-29 13:07

    Heathrow security is a major cause for concern. They'll confiscate a tube of toothpaste from a crew member, unpack the bag, swab it for explosives and then send the crew member on his way, to supervise the pumping of 100 tons of fuel on the aircraft. The staff either have no initiative, or they aren't allowed to use it. Either option is a concern. The best way to ensure security is to use intellegent staff, capable of using initiative. I'm afraid that's lacking at Heathrow, but I suspect the problem lies within the higher echelons of the security establishment.

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