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Published on Tuesday, December 29, 2009

US security tightened after failed terror plot




US aviation security has been stepped up after a failed attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines aircraft flying to Detroit from Amsterdam on Christmas Day.

Passengers flying to the US can expect increased gate screening, including pat-downs and bag searches, according to the country’s Transportation Security Administration.

Travellers on international flights are also being instructed to remain seated for the final hour before landing and will not have access to carry-on baggage.
 
International passengers to arrive at the airport an hour earlier than usual due to increased security screening.
 
The heighted state of security comes after alleged suspect 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to set off a device on the aircraft but was tackled by passengers and crew.
 
The Nigerian man reportedly boarded the Northwest Airlines flight in Lagos, Nigeria. The aircraft flew to Amsterdam before continuing on to Detroit.
 
But Kevin Mitchell of the US-based Business Travel Coalition, said the incident “shone a bright light on much that is wrong with the US approach to aviation system security”.
 
He said: “It is welcome news that President Obama has ordered an airline industry security review so long as it is strategic in nature.      
 
“It makes abundant sense in the immediate aftermath of a suspected terrorist attempt to tighten security measures to ensure that there is not a wider terrorist operation underway; to guard against would-be copycats; and to adequately complete an investigation such that there is sufficient visibility to the nature and extent of the threat.”
 
However, Mitchell added: “The restrictions ordered by the Transportation Security Administration on passenger movement and use of personal items during the one-hour period prior to landing in the US would defy logic if they are kept in place longer than what near-term security precautions warrant.
 
“Someone wanting to terrorize would simply endeavour to do so 65 minutes prior to landing, or during the beginning or middle of a flight.”


by Phil Davies

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