Passengers travelling through the UK’s airports face a raft of additional security measures in the wake of the failed Christmas Day bombing.
Announcing the new measures in the House of Commons yesterday, Home Secretary Alan Johnson said body scanners are to be introduced across the UK’s airports with the first expected to appear at Heathrow within the next three weeks.
All UK airports will be expected to introduce explosive trace detection equipment by the end of the year, while customers can expect more pat downs, searches of luggage for traces of explosives and increased numbers of sniffer dogs.
Johnson said BAA, which operates six of the UK’s airports including Heathrow, has also started training some security staff in behavioural analysis techniques.
The additional measures come following the failed attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up a Delta Air Lines aircraft as it landed at Detroit using powdered explosives hidden in his underwear.
While a spokesman for BAA refused to confirm exactly when the scanners would be introduced, he added: “Now that the government has given the go-ahead, we will introduce full body-scanners as soon as practical.
“It is our view that a combination of technology, intelligence and passenger profiling will help build a more robust defence against the unpredictable and changing nature of the terrorist threat to aviation.”
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Manchester airport, which has been testing the scanners since the start of December, said increasingly customers were backing the technology.
As many as 75% of customers tested by the body scanners backed it before Christmas, but the approval rating rose to 93% during a test day following the failed bombing.
She said: “People say they will go through with it if it helps the security.”
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