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Northwest Flight 253: Updates and repercussions

4-Jan-2010 9:20 AM

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued (03-Dec-2009) new security directives to all US and international carriers with inbound services to the US, effective 04-Jan-2010. The new directive includes "long-term, sustainable security measures developed in consultation with law enforcement officials and our domestic and international partners". [more]

TSA: "Because effective aviation security must begin beyond our borders, and as a result of extraordinary cooperation from our global aviation partners, TSA is mandating that every individual flying into the US from anywhere in the world traveling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest will be required to go through enhanced screening. The directive also increases the use of enhanced screening technologies and mandates threat-based and random screening for passengers on U.S. bound international flights," Company Statement, 03-Jan-2010.

ICAO Secretary General, Raymond Benjamin, initiated (31-Dec-2009) a series of actions in response to the recent terrorist act. ICAO added that it is "satisfied that the emergency security measures taken to date by the United States and other Member States are appropriate and in line with ICAO's guidelines for dealing with elevated levels of threat". ICAO plans to continue to facilitate and implement a globally-harmonized response to this latest threat. [more]

German Government stated it would likely be able to commence testing of full-body scanners at German airports in mid-2010 (FOCUS News Agency, 03-Jan-2010). Testing will be followed by deployment at German airports “a few months later”.

German Police Union and Pilot's Association has called for a ban on razors, lighters and liquids from duty free stores at German and EU airports (Deutsche Welle, 01-Jan-2010).

Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport has reportedly increased security, with passengers travelling to the US to be subjected to additional questioning (The Australian Jewish News, 28-Dec-2009).

National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC) requested the Canadian Government intervene to resolve a conflict between new US security regulations and Canadian privacy laws (ABC Online, 02-Jan-2010). The US Secure Flight programme requires carriers to provide private information, including names, genders and birthdates or Canadian citizens who are passengers on carriers flying through US airspace, even if their final destination is not in the US. NACC was founded by Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Air and WestJet in late 2008.

Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) stated it has no plans to introduce full-body scanners at airports in Geneva, Zurich and Basel (, 03-Jan-2010). FOCA spokesman, Daniel Goring, stated the technology was “useful and effective” and supported its introduction across Europe.

UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, stated full-body scanners would be introduced at airports in Britain, as part of measures to increase security (AP/SBS, 04-Jan-2010). Passengers at UK airports will also have carry-on baggage screened under new security measures.

UK’s BAA stated it ordered full-body scanners for London Heathrow International Airport, and will use the technology in conjunction with other screening measures (AP/SBS, 04-Jan-2010).

BAA: "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. Now the government has given the go-ahead, we will introduce full-body scanners as soon as is practical," Company statement. Source: AP/SBS, 04-Jan-2010.

Italy’s Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni, stated Italy plans to install full-body scanners at the main airports of Rome and Milan for flights considered at high risk of terrorist attacks (Corriere della Sera, 03-Jan-2010). Mr Maroni stated he favoured the swift introduction of the scanners, stating, "we have the resources ready to acquire them but we must overcome the opposition of European privacy agencies”.

WestJet stated (31-Dec-2009) it is in cooperation with the TSA, Transport Canada and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), regarding enhanced security screening measures which are in place at Canadian airports. [more]