Airport security and the terrorist threat


Sir, – While I would commend your correspondent Gearoid Kilgallen (November 28th) for his praise of airport security, I must point out to him and your readers generally, that this cannot be the responsibility of airlines. They simply have not got the facility for it: Michael O’Leary could not afford to offer his level of fares if he became responsible for airport security. No, this must be done by governments acting either through their airport authorities, or directly by their police.

I spent 40 years in Aer Lingus and recall in my early years being able to arrive at airports 20 minutes before departure of my flight and simply walk on to the airplane. Then came “terrorism” and one must arrive for check in nearly two hours before departure.

As a delegate for many years to the International Air Transport Association, which he mentions, I can assure him it has no authority to have “a strict set of rules” on airport security – it can make recommendations but governments set the rules and unfortunately in this day and age the rules must be very strict.

By chance I happened to be watching TV news when two aircraft flew into the New York twin towers. I had photographed the towers a short time before while visiting Battery Park in Lower Manhattan and was shattered at what I now saw.

Unfortunately at that moment the world changed forever.

Civil aviation is now very safe as a means of transport; very little can go wrong with a jet engine compared to the complex piston engines of my youth. But, as I say, “terrorism” now stalks the earth, so we must have strict airport security and of course some countries must be very careful. Progress? I wonder. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.