SCREENED: Passengers waiting in line for security checks at Ballina Airport yesterday.
SCREENED: Passengers waiting in line for security checks at Ballina Airport yesterday.

Government funds airport security upgrades

By Fay Knight

BALLINA mayor Phil Silver has welcomed a Federal commitment to have checked baggage security upgrades at all regional airports.

The Federal Government announced yesterday it would be funding all capital equipment expenses for screening checked baggage for explosives, with screening to begin by December.

The screening will apply to all baggage on commercial jet services. Turbo-prop services (smaller planes) are exempt from screening requirements.

"I'm quite pleased about this as it increases our level of security in regional airports," Cr Silver said.

"There will also be a government contribution towards having checked baggage X-raying equipment in place by December 2008."

Cr Silver said he was unsure of the level of funding available for the X-ray equipment or the total costs. At Ballina airport, departing passengers and their hand luggage were yesterday being screened as usual.

Heading back to Sydney, the Locke family said that they had no problems with waiting for security checks.

"We came up for the Byron triathlon which David competed in," said Ciara Locke, holding baby Liam. "We've travelled a lot and this is nothing to waits in Sydney or London!"

Regular commuter Robert Tarasor said he applauded the level of security at Ballina airport. "They take security seriously and do very thorough checks," said Mr Tarasor.

"Once they held me back because they had found something suspicious in my carry-on bag. It turned out to be the stylus for my phone which had got lost and was trapped in the lining of the bag! They're far more cursory in Sydney."



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