Australia bolsters checks for Middle East flights

REUTERS
SYDNEY
Published 02.04.2017 22:10

Australia will conduct additional security checks on passengers flying directly from countries in the Middle East to prevent security threats.

The new rules follow similar measures introduced by Britain and the United States, but do not include the same bans on electronic devices in the cabins of passenger flights.

"In response to national security advice the Federal Government has made precautionary changes and instructed airlines to implement new protocols from next week," Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester said in a statement on Friday.

Affected airlines are Qantas and Gulf carriers Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport released a statement, saying: "The Turnbull-Joyce government is bolstering aviation security to ensure those traveling to Australia are safe, and to maintain our strong security settings.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said airlines flying directly to Australia from three major transit airports in the Middle East will begin additional screening measures at the boarding gates.

"I want to assure people that there is no specific threat to Australia," Mr Chester said.

"In response to national security advice the Federal Government has made precautionary changes and instructed airlines to implement new protocols from next week.

"Explosive detection screening will be conducted for randomly selected passengers and their baggage. Checks may also include targeted screening of electronic devices.

"Our changes are in line with the UK, which recently announced that people travelling from Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai will be subject to random explosive trace detection (ETD) screening.

"There is no ban on the carriage of electronic devices on flights to Australia at this stage.

"The Government is continuing to ensure Australians and visitors who travel by air can do so in the knowledge that every precaution is being taken to ensure they arrive at their destinations safely.

"The Federal Government has regular contact with international partners and will continue to monitor security developments and adjust security settings if needed.

"Australia has a comprehensive and strong transport security system in place to prevent acts of terrorism," Mr. Chester said.

Travelers are advised to contact their airline to determine if they are affected by the new UK, US or Australian measures." the statement concluded.

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