Published on Wednesday, April 20, 2011

BA chairman hits out at airport security

British Airways chairman Sir Martin Broughton has launched an attack on security checks at airports.

Speaking to the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in London yesterday, he said the current system of ‘one size fits all‘ should be replaced with a ‘risk-management’ approach.

“Some people like to use a different word to describe risk management. It is profiling, which some people regard as a pejorative term. It is alleged to carry discriminatory overtones. Such concerns are misplaced, and completely miss the point,” he said, in a speech reported today in the Financial Times.

“Making everybody suffer inconvenience in the name of uniformity doesn’t make any sense at all – and reduces the quality of security by dissipating resources.”

Sir Martin said the risk-based approach would be more effective in the fight against terrorism and is also “a far better use of resources than the one-size-fits-all approach”.

“Surely the flight crew need to be the ultimate trusted traveller. Let’s face it, they don’t need a bottle of hydrogen peroxide to do their damage if that’s what they were intent on,” he told the audience.

On a recent flight to the US, one of the members of the British Airways Board was selected for additional screening, he added.

“I urge the Commission and European Governments to represent the interests of our passengers and be more forceful in the way they deal with overseas Governments,” he said.

“More parochially, I can’t understand why a passenger who has safely flown into the UK can’t be allowed to fly out again on a transit basis without further screening.”

In summing up, he urged governments:

- to take an holistic look at security

- to take a risk-based approach to security rather than a one-size-fits-all approach

- to operate in unpredictable ways

- to have multilateral agreements on what constitutes a good security regime and mutual recognition of such regimes

- to recognise we have domestically-based terrorists as well as foreign-based terrorists and therefore require the same standards at home as we do for inbound traffic

- to encourage investment in technology that speeds up the security process.

To see the speech in full, click here

* Do you agree with the BA chairman's views? Email us your thoughts by clicking on ADD A COMMENT below.

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  • Quite

    Current security checks are an intrusive and ineffective charade. Took a leatherman and a pair of nail scissors through Bristol last week but a duty-free glass bottle (ostentatiously available for sale airside) would have been a better weapon once broken. Re the comment about transit passengers I would point out that profiling already happens informally at many overseas airports with a tourist industry to cuddle so don't think this is an area where complete relaxation is appropriate.

    By Jack Barker, Thursday, April 21, 2011

  • A Brave Soul.....Finally

    Well done to Martin Broughton for finally saying what a lot of us have been thinking for a long time. The present security arrangements are predictable and therefore vulnerable to be expoited. As they are presently constituted, Airport Security exists for the re assurance of the gullible rather than the safety of travellers. I hope the |Government read closely what he has said and take heed... Once again well done..

    By paul howgate, Wednesday, April 20, 2011

  • At last...some common sense!

    Its about time the reidiculous and predictable security systems operating at our airports was given a complete shake up, we pay enough for it, and are treated like cattle!

    By Julia Harries, Wednesday, April 20, 2011

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