Belfast Telegraph

Belfast tightening up airport security as US issues terror warning

By Colin Francis

Belfast International Airport will be stepping up security in line with other major UK flight centres in the wake of the US warning of an increased risk of terror attacks.

Belfast International Airport said there had been no major impact on flights, but would not detail the heightened measures for security reasons.

Security is being increased amid fears that terrorists are working on a bomb that could sidestep current measures.

The move comes after the United States called for heightened precautions after reports two terror networks are working together on a bomb that could evade existing measures.

The Government highlighted the importance of vigilance but said the extra measures – which have not been disclosed – are not expected to cause "significant disruption" to passengers, and the Department for Transport (DfT) said the official UK threat status remains unchanged.

The Belfast International Airport spokeswoman said: "We do not comment on safety and security arrangements for our passengers.

"Their safety is of paramount importance. We fully comply with all current airport security regulations which are available on www.dft.org.uk"

When pressed as to what new measures had been brought in, she referred to a Department for Transport statement.

It says: "The UK Government keeps aviation security under constant review in conjunction with international partners and the aviation industry.

"We have taken the decision to step up some of our aviation security measures.

"For obvious reasons we will not be commenting in detail on those changes.

"The majority of passengers should not experience significant disruption.

"There will be no change to the threat level, which remains at substantial.

"The safety and security of the public is our paramount concern.

"The UK has some of the most robust aviation security measures and we will continue to take all the steps necessary to ensure that public safety is maintained."

Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman said: "There are terror organisations around the world that seek to do the UK, its citizens, citizens of many other countries including our Western allies, harm.

"We need to always be vigilant to situations that can develop."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Britain would play its part to make sure that security checks could be tightened up where possible, but said he hoped disruption would be minimal.

"The hope is that the majority of travellers will not be unduly disrupted, but I hope also that people will understand that we have to work together across the world to deal with people who want to inflict harm."

Factfile

The changes to security measures were announced after US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson ordered beefed up security at foreign airports from where aircraft fly directly to the US, reportedly as a result of intelligence that groups in Yemen and Syria had joined forces to plot an attack.

It's thought the groups are trying new ways of evading security meausres which were introduced in the wake of the 9/11 plane bombings and other subsequent aircraft attacks.

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