Passengers should not have to foot the bill for airport security

Ticket price hikes for security avoided after vote in European Parliament

Strasbourg, 11th March 2008 — The threat that passengers would have to pay for airport security checks through higher ticket prices was avoided after Conservatives voted through a Commission proposal in the European Parliament today.

The vote in the European Parliament on a report on Civil Aviation Security, which sets out rules on screening of passengers and baggage, aircraft security checks and in-flight security such as ‘sky marshals’, will put Labour on the spot. The Commission will issue guidelines on how to pay for airport security later this year and Conservatives will watch out for any stealth ‘queue’ taxes that may be imposed by the Government to pay for airport security in future.

Sir Robert Atkins MEP, said:

“Basic security standards should be established in the EU, but when the Commission outlines its financing ideas later this year I will argue strongly that if Labour decides to impose harsher measures, the Government - and not passengers - should be prepared to foot the bill.

“The public have already tolerated a massive amount of inconvenience through security measures. It would be wrong to impose a queue tax for their pains.”

This vote comes on the back of reports which claim that BAA intends to fingerprint and photograph all passengers checking in for domestic flights at Heathrow and several other airports. Sir Robert added:

“It would be better if the Home Office were to implement IRIS (Iris recognition scheme) throughout British airports, which would not only speed up immigration procedures but cost considerably less.”

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