Monday, 1 November 2010

Airport security is a necessary inconvenience

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Julian Glover is right to urge restraint in the west's response to the cargo bomb plot. Anyone who calls for military intervention in Yemen has failed to learn the lessons of the Iraq war, which gave al-Qaida a recruitment boost that it draws strength from even to this day. But the need to protect our interests in the skies has never been greater. It is time for aviation officials to stop whining about the economic fallout of security checks, and wake up to the game-changing nature of the threat these new devices pose.

Michael O'Leary's appearance on the BBC this morning epitomised just how reluctant the industry is when it comes to acknowledging the risks, even in the face of irrefutable evidence. "These [bombs] haven't been on passenger airplanes," the Ryanair chief insisted when asked about the dangers to the flying public. Of course we know this is simply not true – one of the devices was bundled on to two scheduled flights before eventually being found in Dubai, and indeed globally around half of all cargo packages are now transported on passenger jets. "There hasn't been a breach of any European airport security," O'Leary shrugged, refusing to diagnose the flying of military-grade explosives into East Midlands Airport for what it clearly is – a flagrant and deeply troubling breach of European airport security...