Australian airports consider tougher security

Written by: Felicity Stredder |
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Australian government officials are considering implementing stricter airport security, akin to the US, in the wake of July's attempted terrorist attack.

On August 3, two Australian men were charged by Australian Federal Police for plotting to bring down an Etihad Airways flight originating from Sydney International airport on July 15. According to police, an IED-style device disguised as a commercial meat mincer was to be planted on the Etihad jet, after being handed to one of the suspect’s brothers, who was allegedly unaware that the bag contained the explosive.

At a certain point, the bag was deemed too heavy to take on board the aircraft and was returned to the suspect, who left the airport with the device in tow. Reports indicate the device never reached a check-in counter and was later discovered during police raids conducted in Sydney on July 29.

As a result of the foiled terrorist plot, the country’s border protection, justice and transport ministers are discussing the implementation of enhanced security measures. New measures may include prohibitions on anyone passing through domestic security checkpoints without a valid boarding pass, reintroduction of previously lenient liquid limitations, implementation of biometric ID checks and full body scans.

Security at Australia's major airports across the country was heightened on July 30, including airports in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Cairns, the Gold Coast and Hobart.

The Australian government is already in the process of improving the experience for passengers at the border, investing A$123.6m in the project. A “contactless traveller” clearance process is to be rolled out for travellers arriving at the country’s international airports, which will use biometric technology and facial recognition to clear arrival passengers.

Australia’s Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, said that as well as improving the efficiency and speed of border processing for legitimate travellers, it will enhance security at the airport. “Australia is committed to being a world leader in the use of biometrics at our border to facilitate legitimate travel, protect our community and prevent the activities of potential terrorists and criminals,” Dutton said.

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