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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 July 2007, 06:46 GMT 07:46 UK
Airport security costs 'too high'
Crowds at Heathrow Airport
Passengers face much more stringent security checks
The aviation industry has said it can no longer afford the spiralling costs of security at Britain's airports.

Costs have risen by 150% since new security measures were brought in after the 11 September attacks in 2001.

Security now costs a quarter of major airports' income. Airports cover all security costs themselves, but say this is simply not sustainable.

The industry now wants the government to contribute, but ministers insist the aviation industry must foot the bill.

Since the 11 September attacks, the government has introduced restrictions on hand baggage, a ban on liquids on board and, more recently, measures to move vehicles further away from terminal buildings.

'Consistent approach'

Geoff Muirhead, chief executive of Manchester Airport group, said it was "totally unfair" that the aviation industry had to bear the costs of responding to the terrorism threat.

"The government should actually look at the costs of any business that's facing a threat to the security that comes from international terrorism and actually pick up the costs themselves."

A forensic team checks the scene of the Glasgow attack
The industry says terrorists are targeting the state, not airports

The cost of increased security has wiped out all their profits, he said.

The group has spent an extra 20m on security since the London bombings on 7 July 2005.

It has also had to pay for 200 more security staff, new equipment and extra for direct policing.

The British Air Transport Association's Roger Wiltshire said all airlines operating through the UK should be subject to the same rules.

He said: "It's important to get a consistent international set of standards operating across the world so that passengers aren't confused or perhaps cynical as they may be today.

People who travel by air should help to pay for airport security
Lou, Edinburgh

"It's also important that the funding approach is consistent across the world so that no airline is disadvantaged commercially, compared to its competitor overseas."

The industry says the new forms of terrorism mean terrorists are targeting the state and not simply airports.

It says the government should follow the lead of European and US governments and contribute towards airport security.

The government said it will never compromise the safety of air passengers but insisted the aviation industry has to pay the bill for security in full.

Calls for government funding to tackle terrorism

Who should pay for airport security?
The aviation industry
The government
4021 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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