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JEREMY HOBSON: One of the bombs discovered last week was in a package in the cargo bay of a passenger airplane. As Marketplace’s David Gura reports, that’s raised questions about how cargo is screened.
DAVID GURA: The belly of a commercial plane is filled with all the checked bags passengers bring on board. It’s also chock full of high-value cargo companies ship.
STEVE LOTT: While cargo is not as sexy and interesting as passenger travel around the world, cargo is really a key part of an airline’s bottom line.
Steve Lott is with the International Air Transport Association, a group of more than two hundred commercial and cargo carriers. He says thirty-five percent of all packages travel by air. Lott suspects that, in the wake of the attempted attack on Friday, screening procedures will change. And he wants governments — and intelligence agencies — to improve how they communicate.
In the U.S., one security change was already scheduled to take place today. For the first time ever, all U.S. airlines will use one system to cross-check passenger data with names on the TSA’s watch list. Every passenger has to provide a full name, date of birth, and gender. David Castlevetter is a spokesman for the group that represents the major U.S. Airlines.
DAVID CASTLEVETTER: If you don’t provide the information, it’s pretty simple — you can’t travel. You can’t complete your reservation. You can’t get a boarding pass. And you can’t travel.
Castlevetter says the policy change wasn’t sparked by the incident last week. The 9/11 Commission recommended it six years ago.
In Los Angeles, I’m David Gura, for Marketplace.