Skip to main content
The Web      Powered by
powered by Yahoo!

Sky marshals plan brings backlash

Story Tools

more video VIDEO
British pilots aren't against marshals in principle but do have questions.
premium content
CNN's Kelli Arena reports on possible attacks by al Qaeda and related groups.
premium content

Does tighter security on trans-Atlantic flights make you nervous about flying?
Follow the news that matters to you. Create your own alert to be notified on topics you're interested in.

Or, visit Popular Alerts for suggestions.

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The U.S. demand that armed air marshals be stationed on some U.S.-bound flights has prompted deep concerns among British pilots and staunch opposition to the move by two other airlines.

Pilots in Britain -- unhappy with air marshals but reluctantly accepting the inevitability of their presence -- met Transport Secretary Alistair Darling Tuesday to press for an industry-wide agreement on air marshal deployment.

"We are seeking an agreement with the government whereby if sky marshals are ever used, we have a protocol -- a gold standard -- as to how they will be deployed," said Jim McAuslan, general security of the British Airline Pilots' Association.

"We are seeking an agreement along the lines of the one we already have with Virgin and which we are currently negotiating with British Airways.

McAuslan said "some progress" has been made on this and "talks will resume."

"We have urged the minister to call a security summit of all those involved in security so that we can all sit round the same table, in the same room, discussing how we should go from here."

In Britain -- where the Christmas and New Year global aviation scare has already grounded flights to Saudi Arabia and Washington -- another jet was delayed overnight because protracted security checks could not be completed in time for takeoff. (Full story)

The concerns have deepened controversy over a move Washington sees as essential to outwitting al Qaeda and other extremist groups. (Q&A)

"We have urged the minister to call a security summit of all those involved in security so that we can all sit round the same table, in the same room, discussing how we should go from here," McAuslan said.

"We would like that summit to include representatives of government, of the airlines, of BALPA and of cabin crew and ground staff, of Transec (the Department of Transport's security department), the Civil Aviation Authority and NATS, the air traffic control organization.

"We would also like to see representatives of the traveling public and of the travel industry. We look forward to the minister's decision on our request for a security summit."

Meanwhile, German-owned Thomas Cook Airlines, which flies from Britain to Orlando. Fla., and also flies through U.S. airspace to the Caribbean, ruled out using marshals in any circumstances.

"Thomas Cook Airlines has not changed its policy that if presented with a sky marshal on any of our routes, the flight would be canceled," it said in a statement.

South African Airways also said it would not for the time being meet U.S. demands. Airline officials said if they are given a terror alert they will ground a flight to the United States rather than put air marshals on their jets.

-- Johannesburg Bureau Chief Charlayne Hunter-Gault contributed to this report.

Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Iran poll to go to run-off
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards

International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.