This time last week the Chairman of British Airways, Martin Broughton, was headline news with his comments about unnecessary security and kowtowing to US requirements. (CD-Traveller 28th October.) Today the news is of how terrorists have become sophisticated enough to create devices which evaded checking at Doha, Dubai and East Midlands airports. Initially, it looked as though the problem lay with security for cargo flights only but now it transpires that the package went on at least two passenger flights from Sanaa in Yemen to Doha in Qatar and then from Doha to Dubai as unaccompanied baggage. Needless to say security is being reviewed and there have been calls to tighten security at least for cargo shipments.
Will Broughton’s comments now be quietly ignored?
I hope not. Tourism is booming in many parts of the world. Aruba has had nearly a 20% increase in tourists from the UK this year despite an overall drop in us visiting the Caribbean. Vietnam had an increase of over third and is planning that the figure jumps from 3 7 million to 12 million in the next 5 years. Tourism to Macau is up by 50% over last year and Singapore’s has jumped by 18%. The list goes on. Up until May, India received an additional 11% more visitors, Germany 9%, Netherlands 11% Poland and Turkey both had a 7% increase and the USA had a 15% growth. Passenger air traffic is September was up by 10% over this time last year but the Middle East saw growth of over a fifth.
Travel and tourism has bounced back strongly after the recession. That shows confidence and leads to economic growth. Making it less difficult to travel because of unnecessary security controls will help that growth especially since, as of today, we have large increases in APD to bear. (CD-Traveller 27th October) That may deter travel more than security.
So as the experts look at tightening up cargo examinations, I hope they’ll remember that there could be some relaxation in vetting passengers without compromising safety.