New checks for US bound air passengers introduced from today

by Ray Clancy on January 4, 2010


All passengers on US bound international flights face tough and random screening as part of new measures announced by the country’s transport authority that take effect from today (Mon January 04). There will be mandatory screening of passengers arriving by air from nations deemed by the authorities to have links with terrorism such as Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Yemen and Cuba. They will face pat-down body searches and have carry-on baggage searched.

All air passengers though face enhanced random checks under the measures announced yesterday by The Transportation Security Administration. ‘The new directive includes long-term, sustainable security measures developed in consultation with law enforcement officials and our domestic and international partners,’ it said in a statement.

‘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 travelling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest will be required to go through enhanced screening,’ a spokesman said.The new measures come in the wake of the botched Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines plane heading from Amsterdam to Detroit which has forced many airports and airlines to boost already tight security. Suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, who had recently travelled to Yemen allegedly to train with Al-Qaeda, reportedly boarded the flight at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport after flying in from Lagos, Nigeria.

According to US prosecutors, Abdulmutallab tried to bring down the Northwest Airlines Airbus A330 using a device containing the explosive PETN, also known as pentaerythritol. Stitched into his underwear, it was not spotted by the traditional metal detectors. It failed to go off properly, but sparked an on-board fire put out by passengers.

Dutch officials have said they now plan to put full-body scanners into use within three weeks, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said British airports were also going to gradually introduce such equipment. ‘We have recognized that there are new forms of weapon that are being used by Al-Qaeda so we’ve got to respond accordingly,’ Brown said.

Critics have questioned the effectiveness of full-body scanners in detecting explosives and warned about the potential for extensive airport delays. There are also privacy concerns over the devices which produce “naked” images that campaigners assert are tantamount to a strip search.

For more information, do visit the Transport Safety Administration website.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Robert Geczi January 4, 2010 at 11:08 pm

With these newly added regulations, if I am a traveler to the US, I would dread my air-flying experience. If I am from the countries that were listed in the article, really, I wouldn’t bother even going to the US, if possible.


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