Airport security consists primarily in preventing potential threats that can be introduced on board of civil aircraft illegally, either in checked baggage, hand baggage, cargo transported via the bunkers, or a crew member, a mechanic or airport staff. It also aims to prevent the introduction of weapons of all kinds in the cabin and the cockpit of the aircraft, weapons that could be used for air piracy.
After the events of 11 September 2001, the Regulation 2320/2002 introduced new security measures, so it should be impossible for terrorists to enter into an airplane. For example, Airports were divides specific security areas, to which access was strictly controlled. Even the screening of passengers and carry-on baggage was strengthened and the minimum equipment requirements were strictly regulated. In addition, Member States and airports were required to prepare their own safety programs.
In the late sixties internationally increasingly grew the number of the cases of hijacking, urged the governments to preventive measures. However, by the time, there was no legal basis for it. The growing number of hijacking increased awareness of the necessity of aviation security and led some years later to the Civil Aviation Act. The law said that the control of passengers and luggage must be carried out by the countries that have to bear most of the costs. The main procedure of the checks may not be outsourced to private companies to ensure high standards and avoid price competition. Since 1980, all passengers and all cabin baggage have been be screened or searched. After the Lockerbie bombing in 1988, the proportion of controlled baggage was progressively increased and the checked baggage had to be checked thoroughly without exceptions. In 1990, a security fee that should cover part of the expenses was introduced. Since 1992, the outsourcing of Airport security controls was allowed for private security personnel under strict conditions. Governments still exert a strong influence and high demands.
The main preventative tasks relating to the airport security can be summarized as follows:
- The identity of the passengers, before they are allowed on board, is checked through passport control. Passengers and crews are sampled at security gates and monitored for having metal objects. The luggage and other cargo is X-rayed to prevent weapons or explosives to be brought on board of an aircraft. Hand luggage is also checked for all kinds of weapons and their imitations, and other dangerous items exceeding the liquid limit. Unattended luggage are removed and examined by security personnel. The protection against manipulation in the storage area must be ensured. The luggage will be transported only if the corresponding passenger is on board the aircraft.
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