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Europe tightens air security

Searches of baggage will be tightened up
Searches of baggage will be tightened up  


BRUSSELS, Belgium -- New air safety rules are being set up by the European Commission in the wake of the terror hijackings in the United States.

The safety review is part of a global exercise to allay fears and revive an industry which has been crippled financially as a result of the loss of confidence by passengers.

Earlier this week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta asked airlines to reinforce the cockpit doors on their aircraft and announced the creation of a $20 million grant to develop and install new technology for better security aboard U.S. aircraft.

At a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, the EC followed that by proposing steps to increase checks on and "profiling" of passengers, more detailed and systematic searches of hold and hand baggage, better protection of cockpit access, and "quality control" of airline security measures applied by national authorities.

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A proposal on improved cabin crew training has already been sent to European Union transport ministers, who are expected to endorse the provisions at talks next week.

Loyola de Palacio, the EC's Vice-President for energy and transport, said: "Air transport is one of the symbols of freedom of movement and trade which characterise our societies. It must stay that way.

"The security of European citizens must be guaranteed: only the uniform, effective application of security measures will enable all Europeans to continue to have confidence in EU skies and airports."

The EC proposed the adoption and enforcement of common EU security rules for civil aviation based on existing recommendations of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC).

EUROPEAN AVIATION SECURITY
The European Commission has proposed the adoption and enforcement of common EU security rules for civil aviation based the recommendations of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC). They will chiefly be concerned with:
- control of access to sensitive areas of airports and aircraft
- control of passengers and their hand luggage
- control and monitoring of hold luggage
- control of cargo and mail
- training of ground staff
- definition of specifications for the equipment for the above controls
- classification of weapons and others items which it is prohibited to bring on to aircraft or into the sensitive areas of airports

They include control of access to sensitive areas of airports and aircraft, control of passengers and their hand luggage, control and monitoring of hold luggage and control of cargo and mail.

The Commission added: "The measures will be implemented gradually in a realistic manner to take account of the time needed to train personnel and alter infrastructure.

"In the event of a more specific threat, Member States will be able to adopt special measures.

"For its part, the Commission intends to ensure that the Community measures are able to evolve in line with the nature of any threat."

In the U.S. the findings of two panels of experts who were asked to make security recommendations for airports and aircraft following the September 11 terrorist attacks were released this week.

The panels said that better screening of passengers and luggage and a better design of cockpit doors are two major priorities.

The U.S. Association of Flight Attendants, the country's largest flight attendants' union, is also calling for new regulations to limit carryon luggage, allow flight crews to have non-lethal weapons and require airlines to provide anti-hijacking training.



 
 
 
 


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