According to the airline industry’s global body, there is a huge degree of wastage on needless security checks for passengers that do not really offer any threat to flights. Airports within the major flying hubs are fighting to deal with the ever growing levels of safety regulations which stack up to an astonishing £4.6 billion per year to integrate. There is a consensus among major airlines that a better way of screening can be achieved, and that passengers are being put through arduous, complicated and often needless aggravation.
The Director General of the IATA (Tony Taylor) has recently lent his support to a new programme being architected by the US Transport Security Administration. It centres upon the notion that a low-risk passenger could be dealt with by airport security staff in a far less stringent manner if he or she supplied previous travel records i.e. frequent flyer points.
Ever since 9/11, the new limits on hand luggage and other crackdowns on passenger luggage rights when travelling have led to multi-million pound costs for the UK and global travel industry. Worryingly, the losses in passenger numbers and resulting revenues represent a squeeze for the whole industry
BAA has recently launched a pilot of state-of-the-art bodyscanners which it anticipates will lead to the reduction and ultimate elimination of the requirement to have metal detectors and the often unpleasant full body searches at airports. Interestingly, staff at BAA are working on ‘‘behavioural detection technicques’’ to identify passengers who pose a threat to security by behaving suspiciously.
Whilst the aviation industry might be losing out due to this issue, the winner is certainly the rail industry. Rail operators have identified airport security issues as a contributor to growth on certain routes, namely UK to Paris and London to Scotland. According to Nicolas Petrovic, Eurostar’s chief executive, “The combination of ease, convenience and a speedy check-in process means that travellers are increasingly opting for high-speed rail over plane.”
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