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Airline chief blasts US security demands

Oct 27 2010 11:48 Reuters

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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.
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