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Northwest Flight 253 Update: New TSA rules for pax flying from 14 countries to US

5-Jan-2010 8:08 AM

US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) implemented (04-Jan-2010) a new directive mandating passengers flying into the US from anywhere in the world travelling from or through 14 nations that are considered “state sponsors of terrorism” or other “countries of interest” be required to go through enhanced screening. The ten countries of interest are Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Yemen, while declared state sponsors of terrorism are Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria. Passengers holding passports from those nations, or taking flights that originated or passed through any of these countries, will be required to undergo a full-body pat-down and extra scrutiny of their carry-on bags before they can board a plane to the US. The new directive will be in place indefinitely and replaces an emergency order the TSA implemented on 25-Dec-2009.

IATA welcomed (04-Jan-2010) the TSA announcement as a "welcome step in the right direction". IATA stated emergency measures should be revised as information is gathered in the investigation. IATA considers that long-term, sustainable aviation security must be globally harmonised, risk-based and have efficient processes for passengers. [more]

European Commission confirmed it will reassess use of full-body scanners at European airports, provided health and privacy concerns can be addressed (KUNA, 04-Jan-2010). There is currently no EU standard for full-body scanning technology and no EU framework for implementation of the technology.

Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport announced plans to acquire 60 new full-body scanners, adding to the 15 it has already installed (AP, 05-Jan-2010).

Spanish Development Ministry stated the Spanish Government will not carry out additional airport security measures, including the introduction of full-body scanners, unless there is a EU-wide agreement on revised security (Typically Spanish, 04-Jan-2010). The Spanish Government has agreed to comply with US requests on tightened security on US bound flights.

Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) stated it is not considering acquiring full-body scanners for its airports “at this stage” and will maintain its existing security arrangements (Saba, 04-Jan-2010).

Pakistan International Airlines announced it has implemented enhanced screening for US-bound passengers (AP, 04-Jan-2010).

Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration stated it would introduce additional security measures for flights bound for the US, in addition to complying with security requests by the US Department of Homeland Security (Dow Jones, 05-Jan-2010). Taiwan will conduct special security checks for all passengers on US-bound flights and US aircraft who came from or have travelled through the TSA’s list of countries.