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Tuesday, 16 October, 2001, 07:18 GMT 08:18 UK
Pilots debate anti-terrorism measures
Air marshals in training
Security on board the plane is the last line of defence
Pilots from all over the world have gathered in Tokyo for a meeting on airline security.

Following last month's attacks on New York and Washington, the agenda will be dominated by the question of new tactics in the fight against terrorism.

The greatest thing of all is to try to put in place practices and procedures which ensure that people like this never get on board

Ted Murphy
Governments have proposed a number of measures to prevent hijackers taking control of a plane, including locking cockpit doors during flights, carrying on-board sky-marshals and even arming pilots.

But Ted Murphy, President of the International Federation of Airline Pilots, told the BBC that while these issues would be discussed at the meeting, the emphasis needs to be on the security outside of the airplane.

"When you talk about making cockpits secure, you are in a sense talking about the last line of defence... the greatest thing of all is to try to put in place practices and procedures which ensure that people like this never get on board," Mr Murphy said.

Government input

He said that since no-one was more experienced in dealing with airline security issues than pilots and that it was they who ultimately exercise command over a plane, they should have a say in what security measures are put in place.

However, he insisted that any decisions were the responsibility of the industry and governments too.

"This has to an effort that goes beyond pilots and the industry - governments have to be involved too because we all have to make sure that this industry is safe and an industry that is growing," he said.

Passenger screening

Some airlines are reported to have been screening passengers to limit the number of people from Middle Eastern countries that are allowed to travel at any time, but Mr Murphy said that this kind of measure should be stopped.

"The very things that we are fighting to protect, the very civilisation we see the aviation industry being part of, is about human rights and treating people properly.

"To treat anyone differently on the basis of their nationality is clearly unacceptable," he said.

The BBC's Caroline Thomsett
reports on the stepping up of airport security in the USA
See also:

03 Oct 01 | Americas
US airlines to reinforce cockpits
27 Sep 01 | Business
Airlines mull security costs
29 Dec 00 | UK
Security in the skies
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