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Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 19:49 GMT 20:49 UK
Air passengers face tighter security
Armed police patrol Heathrow
Armed police patrol Heathrow after terror attacks in the US

By the BBC's Conor Kavanagh in Dublin

European air passengers will have to get used to "Israeli" levels of security in the wake of last week's terror attacks in the United States, according to a leading industry figure.

Sir Gilbert Thompson, president of airport strategy at Manchester Airport, said passengers would face much tighter security and more delays in future.

"Passengers will have to become accustomed to Israeli type security at airports.

"That means that individuals as well as their luggage will be subjected to thorough and checks," Sir Gilbert said.

"This is the standard that all governments in the world will be looking at," he added.

Securing cockpits

Sir Gilbert said that security measures had to extend to securing aircraft cockpits.

Aer Lingus tail fins
Aer Lingus is scaling back operations and planning to job cuts
"This could involve the use of strengthened partitions and cockpit doors.

"On a recent flight I noticed the crew door had been left open".

Sir Gilbert made his comments as airline industry executive met for a conference in Dublin.

The airline chiefs had hoped to focus on new routes - but the dominant theme was security and talk of a business that was in turmoil after the attacks in the United States.

Airlines in crisis

Many of the world's airlines are in crisis.

Manhattan has provided a focus but the underlying problems had been there long before then

Alan Winn, Flight International
Several, including Continental and Virgin Atlantic, have announced significant staff cuts.

But according to Alan Winn of Flight International magazine the airline industry was in difficulties before the terrorist attacks on the United States.

"Manhattan has provided a focus but the underlying problems had been there long before then," he said.

Aer Lingus job cuts

Irish airline Aer Lingus announced that it is to cut its operations by 25% and will let go over 600 temporary staff.

Trade Union leaders fear that 1,700 full time jobs at the airline which as a current workforce of 7,000 could also be at risk.

Some aircraft will also be mothballed on the transatlantic and short haul routes.

In a statement, Aer Lingus said plans had already existed to cut back on services in response to the worldwide economic slowdown but the position had been "greatly worsened" by last week's terrorist attacks.

The low cost airline Ryanair said its booking were down last week by 10% but have returned to normal levels.

"Ryanair would be very concerned if in the aftermath of last weeks terrorist strikes a number of loss making European flag carriers were to receive further state aid."

See also:

18 Sep 01 | Business
US promises airline bail-out
18 Sep 01 | Business
More pain for US airlines
17 Sep 01 | Business
Virgin Atlantic cuts 1,200 jobs
17 Sep 01 | Business
UK airlines 'need government aid'
13 Sep 01 | Business
Air industry faces bleak outlook
17 Sep 01 | Business
Airline reservations slump
14 Sep 01 | Business
Airlines bankruptcy warning
18 Sep 01 | South Asia
Airlines suspend Sri Lanka flights
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