Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Air security grading for passengers

AIR passengers would be separated into three boarding queues based on the security risk they pose as part of a controversial shake-up proposed by airlines to speed up the time it takes to get on a plane.

The International Air Transport Association, which represents the world’s biggest airlines, called for lengthy boarding procedures to be overhauled, claiming existing biometric scanning equipment could be used within two years to ensure passengers could pass through security checks without removing clothes or baggage.

Frequent flyers – or “known travellers” – who have undergone background checks with government authorities would be fast-tracked and the majority of passengers would pass through “normal screening”, IATA said, with a minority of passengers deemed to present an elevated risk subjected to lengthier scans.

Its proposals are likely to be tested initially in the United States, but will be closely followed in the UK where Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has promised an overhaul of boarding procedures.

Speaking at its annual conference in Singapore, IATA’s director-general Giovanni Bisignani said airport checkpoints should do away with strip searches, unpacking and pat-downs.

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