Tighter airport security call

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

Member for Albany Peter Watson has thrown his support behind increased security measures at Albany Airport.

Since Regional Express took over the Perth to Albany route last year passengers have not been security screened because of the size of the aircraft.

The Office of Transport Security stipulates that an aircraft weighing less than 20 tonnes does not warrant security screening.

Regional Express’ Saab 340 aircraft sits below this thresh-old.

Mr Watson said he was not satisfied with the system presently in place.

“When travelling from Perth you have to go through security, yet you don’t from Albany to Perth just because of the size of the plane,” he said.

“I think it would be good for passenger safety if security screening was re-introduced at Albany Airport.”

The reduction in security has allowed REX to drop its prices by about $20. Mr Watson has previously questioned the high prices of regional airfares, with the Economics and Industry Standing Committee currently heading an inquiry into the issue.

A REX spokeswoman said the airline was compliant with regulations.

“REX believes that the risk assessment of air transport security risks is extremely complex and should be left to the experts at the OTS, who are constantly carrying out risk assessments based on the latest state of events,” he said. “Rex complies with all OTS security instructions and will continue to do so if and when regulations change.”

Former senior Australian Federal Police officer Chris Douglas said other security measures could be employed.

“All hand luggage should be inspected and if X-ray facilities don’t exist, then there’s no reason why passengers can’t be asked to open handheld luggage, which is then inspected by security or by the crew themselves.”

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