Khaleej Times - US-bound passengers face new secur




US-bound passengers face new security interviews



Angel Tesorero/Dubai
Filed on October 26, 2017 | Last updated on October 26, 2017 at 08.21 am
EgyptAir said new measures starting today include interviews and more detailed searches of passengers and their luggage.
(Alamy Image)


The new pre-screening interviews are in line with a request by US authorities following the lifting of the ban on laptops.


At least five global long-haul airlines, including Emirates, are implementing new travel guidelines, such as "enhanced security screening measures", for US-bound passengers beginning today.

The new pre-screening interviews are in line with a request by US authorities following the lifting of the ban on laptops in airplane cabins for some Middle East airlines.

"Emirates can confirm that following new security guidelines received from the US government, our flights to the USA will be subject to further, enhanced security screening measures starting October 26," an airline spokesperson told Khaleej Times on Wednesday.

"The new directive requires passenger pre-screening interviews at the check-in counter for originating passengers and at the boarding gate for transfer and transit passengers."

Emirates said that "these measures will work in complement with the current additional screening measures conducted at the boarding gate, including those for electronic devices".

The Dubai-based airline also advised its passengers to allow additional time to be checked-in and boarded if travelling to the US from Dubai International Airport.

An Etihad spokesperson told Khaleej Times that their operations are "normal" at the moment and will give an update on new security measures while the Bahrain-based Gulf Air did not issue any statement yet.

"I have been to the US before and I'm planning to revisit in the near future. As a frequent traveller, I have nothing against the implementation of new directives, particularly if it concerns safety of passengers," said Dubai resident Dr Angelo Santos.

"All it takes is punctuality to attend to this pre-screening requirements, and obedience to new rules and regulations. This will not be a problem to all responsible travellers and tourists," added Santos.

A report by Associated Press on Wednesday noted that EgyptAir, Cathay Pacific Airways, Air France and Lufthansa are also implementing stricter procedures at the airports.

EgyptAir said new measures starting today include interviews and more detailed searches of passengers and their luggage. Agricultural and veterinary products will also be tightly screened.

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways announced on its website on Wednesday that it had suspended self-drop baggage services and that passengers heading to the US "will be subject to a short security interview".

Those without bags would have a similar interview at their gates, AP reported Cathay Pacific as saying.

Air France said that the new security interviews of passengers will also start at Paris Orly Airport today and at Charles de Gaulle Airport on November 2. Air France added that the extra screening will take the form of a questionnaire handed over to all its US-bound passengers.

Lufthansa also said the new measures would be in place today and passengers could face short interviews at check-in counters or at the gate.

AP noted that "it wasn't immediately clear if other global airlines would be affected, though the Trump administration previously rolled out a laptop ban and travel bans that have thrown global airlines into disarray".

Royal Jordanian, which operates direct flights from Amman to New York, Chicago and Detroit, also confirmed that it will implement new security procedures on US-bound flights in mid-January.

An AP report quoted Basel Kilani, a spokesman for Royal Jordanian, as saying that the national carrier had asked to delay the implementation of the measures until January, and that the request was granted.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that the new security measures will affect around 325,000 airline passengers on about 2,000 US-bound commercial flights on 180 airlines from 280 airports in 105 countries.

US trade group Airlines for America said the changes "are complex security measures" while Andrew Herdman, director-general of Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, added that having a globally coordinated security approach made more sense than having destination-specific requirements.

"Although the measure is more focused on the human component, there is no guarantee that this will actually improve security, particularly as terrorists consistently adapt to security measures," Atty Barney Alamazar, another Dubai resident, told Khaleej Times.

"The major challenge in our society is to balance passenger rights and security. Passengers need to understand the importance of security measures to counter terrorism while regulators need to understand the importance of human rights and privacy," he added

"Cooperation is the key, implementing a risk-based approach to screening while assuring respect for passenger dignity. In the words of Benjamin Franklin 'those who would give up their liberty for security deserve neither and lose both'."





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