Security checks for passengers flying to Australia from the Middle East have been bolstered
AUSTRALIA will bolster security checks for passengers flying from the Middle East to prevent terrorist threats to the nation.
Transport Minister Darren Chester has announced airlines flying directly to Australia from three major transit airports in the Middle East will begin additional screening measures at the boarding gates from next week.
Passengers flying direct to Australia from Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai will be subject to random explosive trace detection (ETD) screening.
The measures follow recent moves from the UK and US to ban all electronic devices on flights from the Middle East.
“I want to assure people that there is no specific threat to Australia,” Mr Chester said.
“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.”
Affected airlines include Qantas Airways, Etihad Airways (including Virgin Australia code share passengers), Emirates, and Qatar Airways, all of which already have gate screening measures for passengers boarding Australia-bound flights to enforce our liquids, aerosols and gels restrictions.
Travellers are advised to contact their airline to determine if they are affected by the new UK, US or Australian measures.
Mr Chester said the government and national security agencies would continue to monitor the situation and would further boost current arrangements if necessary.
“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,” Mr Chester said.
“Australia has a comprehensive and strong transport security system in place to prevent acts of terrorism.”
Is response to the move Qantas released a statement.
“In line with updated Australian Government requirements, Qantas will implement additional screening of passengers flying from the UAE (Dubai) to Australia. This involves using a similar random explosive trace detection test already used at major Australian airports. This will apply to passengers travelling on QF2 (Dubai-Sydney) and QF10 (Dubai-Melbourne) only,” the statement read.
A spokesman for Etihad said the “measures are similar to those currently in place on flights to the UK”.
“We would ask our guests to allow extra time at Abu Dhabi International Airport so the additional security procedures can be carried out,” he said.
“The new rules do not affect Etihad Airways’ flights leaving Australia to Abu Dhabi and beyond.”
Virgin declined to comment.
Further information on prohibited items and dangerous goods are available on the government’s TravelSECURE website: http://travelsecure.infrastructure.gov.au/onboard/.