Heathrow passengers suffer as security tightens

Published 13 February 2006

Lax security was tightened at the U.K.’s biggest airport last Friday, forcing hundreds of passengers to miss flights. Inspectors managed to smuggle weapons through security checks leading to Heathrow’s owner BAA being ordered to “raise its game.” It led to lengthy queues at X-ray screening machines as one in three passengers was body searched instead of the usual one in six. The Department of Transport (DoT) threatened BAA that it could lose its license and Heathrow would have to close unless security was improved. Officials also saw cargo left unattended for six hours where it could be tampered with last month. And they strolled through cargo sheds to secure “airside” areas. The DoT refused to comment but a source said: “BAA was told in no uncertain terms that its existing security is flawed. The airport would have to be closed unless standards improved dramatically.” Delays only worsened over the weekend when the half-term holiday began.

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