IATA decries gaps in freight security after bomb alerts

2nd November 2010, Comments 0 comments

The head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Tuesday called for an improvement in security for air freight, after two parcel bombs from Yemen sparked a global alert.

"The events in Yemen have put cargo security at the top of the agenda," said Giovanni Bisignani at a conference on air freight security.

"Currently, there is no government-certified technology to screen standard size pallets and large items.... There is some promising technology but it is taking far too long to move from the laboratory to the airport," he said.

"We must speed up the process."

Bisignani's comments came days after explosives were discovered on US-bound cargo planes, causing authorities around the world to tighten security, in some cases banning flights from Yemen.

Air freight represents 35 percent of the total value of goods shipped internationally, Bisignani said. At present, 58 percent of this freight is carried on cargo planes, with the rest on passenger planes.

"Our end goal is to have the same degree of security for freight that we do for passengers," said Bisignani, who insisted that governments, not airlines, must foot the bill for tighter security measures.

© 2010 AFP

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