Date: 30 October 2010
By Julian Bray
|al-Qaeda keeping up the pressure, lest we forget...|
MOST airports have a separate cargo area that keeps normal passengers well clear - but this may also lead to security in these areas being weaker.
Given the number of packages being discovered in this latest security alert, it does seem to be part of a concerted effort to target cargo operations, possibly as a dry run for a more serious assault by al-Qaeda.
In the past, terrorists have managed to smuggle packages into cargo operations. This has been made easier, as you don't have the same number of people around as you do in passenger operations.
However, security still tends to be high in cargo areas in the UK and they are well policed, which may explain why this package was discovered at East Midlands Airport.
It could be the terrorists have reacted to the announcement by British Airways this week that they should no longer be checking shoes, and they are ratcheting up the angst factor. One of the key factors is that this plot appears to have originated in Yemen, which is a focus for various terrorist groups. One would have hoped the security authorities would have tightened up their act, but obviously vigilance has to remain at the highest possible level with any flight from the Middle East.
The effect of all this, of course, is to cause widespread disruption. There will now be a major incident plan put into action both here and in the United States.
They put expert teams in and the idea is to do a thorough investigation and go through the various areas. But it won't just be the aircraft, it will be everything it has touched.
By the nature of it, this will be very disruptive - exactly the effect the terrorists desire.
• Julian Bray is a writer and commentator on aviation security.
Contributor: Media & Aviation Expert Julian Bray SKYPE: Julian.Bray.UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476 ISDN2 down line ++44(0)1733 555 319 (Broadcasters) G722 & APT-X Dual Codecs GlensoundC5