Reply To: Air marshalls on all US carrier into USA… a step too far?

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To make a very detailed point. I would greatly welcome full security checking at the entrance to each boarding gate. I have long been concerned that, given the sheer volume of goods and working personnel that come into the Departure Lounge of most airports, as they increasingly resemble shopping malls where you catch planes, that this is a potential major loophole. I don’t know the extent to which all goods are examined and staff checked, and logic would suggest that it varies country to country.

This must represent the Achille’s heel for most airports, as effective security must be very difficult in the larger airports, given the sheer volume of daily goods and staff. It seems ludicrous to have controls on liquids in hand baggage when one can purchase duty-free bottles airside which are “assumed” to be safe. The potential for security breaches where goods coming into the airside are tampered with (through collusion) seems to be significant.

Airports such as Istanbul and Baku effectively create a cordon sanitaire by having a second (full) security check as you enter each gate lounge. In Baku this includes a full “naked” body scanner at most gates. Incidentally, at both airports they also check all passengers and baggage before they enter the check-in area, and this is, I guess, intended to prevent attacks at the landside.

A contrast to this is Helsinki, an airport I use regularly. Amazingly, family and friends are able to pass through security control and gain access to the majority of the airport (apart from the non-Schengen gates) because boarding cards are not looked at until the gate lounge. It is considered quite acceptable for passengers’ friends also to meet them at the gate when a plane arrives. I stand to be corrected, but I cannot think of another major airport in Europe where this is permitted (tacitly or otherwise).

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