Ryanair warns against 'ludicrous' new security measures

1st November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Irish no-frills airline Ryanair on Monday urged the British government against imposing "ludicrous and ineffective" new airport security measures after last week's foiled Yemeni bomb plot.

Chief executive Michael O'Leary made the appeal after unveiling a 13.5-percent jump in first-half net profits on the back of higher passenger numbers and ticket prices.

"What happens, particularly in the coverage of the Yemeni issues of recent days, is that we have another huge lurch by the securicrats into making travel even more uncomfortable and an even more tedious ordeal for the travelling public," O'Leary told BBC Radio 4.

"Sadly they always win the day and they lurch around with ludicrous new measures."

"We in the aviation industry are all for effective security measures such as taking knives off passengers, but we are all opposed to ludicrous and ineffective measures," O'Leary added at a separate press conference.

The comments came as British Prime Minister David Cameron chaired an emergency meeting to discuss the threat of booby-trapped packages sent as air cargo from Yemen.

One of the bombs in the plot was found aboard a cargo plane at East Midlands airport in central England. The other -- a computer printer containing explosives -- was discovered in Dubai, and both were addressed to synagogues in Chicago.

O'Leary added: "The fact is, if you look at most of the terrorist attacks in recent years, they have been on the London Underground, they have been in Madrid on the trains, they haven't been at airports and they haven't been against passenger aircraft. Nor has this one been against passenger aircraft.

"So I have no doubt we will have all the securicrats tut-tutting through the remainder of this week about the need for increased security when in actual fact we already have ludicrously over-the-top and, sadly, totally ineffective security measures."

However, Cameron's official spokesman insisted that his coalition government was aiming to ensure that security measures remained "appropriate".

"Our response to this incident and our response at all times is to ensure that the security arrangements are appropriate," the spokesman told reporters.

"Clearly there is an issue with impact on passengers, and ensuring that passengers can flow freely through airports is one of our objectives. But equally another key objective is to ensure that they are safe."

He added: "We do look at the impact on passengers but it's very important to keep passengers safe."

The chairman of British Airways, Martin Broughton, also strongly criticised airport security checks, particularly in the United States, only days before the discovery of the Yemen bombs.

Earlier Monday, Ryanair revealed that profits after tax soared to 424 million euros (592 million dollars) in the six months to September, compared with the same part of last year.

Ryanair is the latest European airline to unveil bumper earnings, after Alitalia, British Airways, Iberia and Lufthansa all posted soaring profits last week.

© 2010 AFP

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