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Australia follows UK, US on Mideast flight security

April 3, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Australia has tightened security on flights direct to Australia from Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, a move that will affect passengers on Qantas, Etihad (Virgin Australia codeshare), Emirates and Qatar Airways.

The decision follows similar measures being introduced by the US and Britain.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the government was bolstering aviation security “to ensure those traveling to Australia are safe, and to maintain our strong security settings”.

He said airlines flying directly to Australia from three major transit airports in the Middle East will begin additional screening measures at the boarding gates.

The measures will not “at this stage” involve the controversial bans on larger electronic devices being carried in cabins, as introduced by the US and Britain on various routes from the Middle East.

“I want to assure people that there is no specific threat to Australia,” Chester said.

“In response to national security advice the Federal Government has made precautionary changes and instructed airlines to implement new protocols from next week.” (Note: That’s this week — Chester spoke on Friday.)

“Explosive detection screening will be conducted for randomly selected passengers and their baggage.  Checks may also include targeted screening of electronic devices.

“Our changes are in line with the UK, which recently announced that people travelling from Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai will be subject to random explosive trace detection (ETD) screening.

“There is no ban on the carriage of electronic devices on flights to Australia at this stage.

“The Government is continuing to ensure Australians and visitors who travel by air can do so in the knowledge that every precaution is being taken to ensure they arrive at their destinations safely.

“The Federal Government has regular contact with international partners and will continue to monitor security developments and adjust security settings if needed.

“The affected airlines are Qantas Airways, Etihad Airways (including Virgin Australia code share passengers), Emirates, and Qatar Airways, all of which already have gate screening measures for passengers boarding Australia-bound flights to enforce our liquids, aerosols and gels restrictions.

“Regular travellers in Australia will already know how these measures work as they have been applied domestically since 2007.

“Australia has a comprehensive and strong transport security system in place to prevent acts of terrorism,” Chester said.

Travellers are advised to contact their airline to determine if they are affected by the new UK, US or Australian measures.

Further information on prohibited items and dangerous goods are available on the government’s TravelSECURE website: travelsecure.infrastructure.gov.au/onboard/

Edited by Peter Needham

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