New rules coming to Aussie airports
NEW rules for travellers at Australian airports are coming in after a flight crackdown was ordered following the Sydney airport terrorism plot.
The dramatic new security clampdown will tighten restrictions for taking liquids on board, photo IDs and possibly introduce biometric ID checks and full body scans.
The stringent new measures may also prohibit anyone without a current boarding pass from being let through domestic security, The Weekend Australian reported.
The new rules will be in line with US domestic terminal practice and will reverse the relaxation of rules regarding liquid, aerosol and gel restrictions.
The so-called liquid and gel rules or "LAGS" over 20ml being placed in plastic bags were introduced after the 2006 UK plot to detonate liquid explosives on flights.
Metal detectors at domestic terminals throughout Australia cannot recognise liquids held on a person, which could be picked up on a full-body scanner.
Currently at US airports no-one can pass through security to a domestic terminal gate without a boarding pass.
Mandatory security checks of passengers could be tightened and the Federal Government is believed to be considering biometric checks, by iris or fingerprint.
The proposal to again tighten domestic Australian airport security is a direct response to the alleged plan to blow up an Etihad Airlines flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi.
Police say the plot was foiled only at the last minute, at check-in. The alleged plot failed when hand luggage, in which a metal meat grinder containing a military grade explosive was concealed, was deemed too heavy for boarding.
Authorities described the plan as "one of the most sophisticated plots" attempted in Australia which came close to a "catastrophic event".
The Weekend Australian's exclusive report says an Australia-wide rollout of new flight security rules has been discussed at senior levels within the Federal Government.
This follows an emergency National Security Committee meeting following the detainment of four men a week ago for questioning.
Police have since charged two men with acting in preparation for or planning a terrorist act.
The proposed security measures are being discussed by Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton, Justice Minister Michael Keenan and Transport Minister Darren Chester.
They are likely to go before the Federal Cabinet within weeks, although the government expects major airlines to resist the moves which would add costs.
These would ultimately be passed on to passengers, increasing ticket prices.
However, the new security measures are likely to become permanent and Mr Chester said security at all domestic airports had already tightened since last weekend's arrests.
Police allege that brothers Khaled Mahmoud Kayat, 49, and Mahmoud Kayat, 32, planned to use the improvised explosive device (IED) after carrying it to Sydney international airport.
A third brother, who was unaware of the terror plan, was unwittingly boarding the Etihad flight with the device in his luggage.
Terrorism investigators say parts of the IED had been sent from Turkey via air cargo from a fourth brother, who is an Islamic State commander.