British Airways criticizes U.S. security demands

A security officer demonstrates the new full-body scanning machine on trial at Manchester Airport in Manchester, England.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The head of British Airways has attacked what he calls completely unnecessary airport security checks. That's of course where you take off your shoes or belt in the security line. The airline chief says the U.K. should stop kowtowing to U.S. security demands.

Marketplace's Stephen Beard is with us live from London with the latest. Hi Stephen.

STEPHEN BEARD: Hello, Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: Why does he say these measures are unnecessary?

BEARD: Because he says airport scanning equipment can now easily detect suspect materials that may be hidden in shoes or in clothing. His remarks reflected general view among European airlines and airport operators that as aviation consultant Lorrie Price suggests, some of these security measures are frankly a waste of time.

LORRIE PRICE: Particularly, when you see someone of 80-plus do these things -- this rather undignified thing of taking off belts, taking off shoes or whatever. Come on, let's start being a little more sensible of how we approach this whole process.

The BA chief also said that the practice of having laptops removed from bags to be checked separately should be ditched. He pointed out laptops are now often being treated differently than iPads. Such is the muddle over these security checks.

CHIOTAKIS: And the U.S., Stephen, is being blamed for a lot of these security measures?

BEARD: Well, he is blaming the U.K. government in particular for what he calls kowtowing to the U.S. -- rushing to implement every measure the U.S. calls for, even when the U.S. doesn't impose all these checks consistently on its own domestic flights. The BA chief says he wants more consistency and simply a more rational approach to airport security.

CHIOTAKIS: Alright, Marketplace's Stephen Beard,
reporting from London. Stephen, thanks.

BEARD: OK Steve.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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