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Government agrees to aviation security measures

Government agrees to aviation security measures

The Government will require immediate strengthening of security training requirements for airline and airport staff at regional airports, and the Civil Aviation Authority will expedite a feasibility study on whether flight-deck barriers can be fitted to smaller aircraft in New Zealand, Transport Minister Annette King announced today.

The moves follow an attempted hijacking of a small passenger plane on an Air New Zealand flight between Blenheim and Christchurch on 8 February 2008.

The Government has also agreed to a thorough review of domestic aviation security in New Zealand.

"The Cabinet has agreed that the review will involve an assessment of the benefits and costs of the Aviation Security Service (Avsec) providing limited or full security screening of aircraft under 90 passenger seats," Ms King said.

"There has been speculation about what might or might not happen since the incident, but it is clear from the preliminary work by officials and advice from stakeholders that we should not prejudge actions or over-react."

Ms King said "airport, airline and other staff are the 'eyes and ears' of the aviation security system, and Civil Aviation will immediately look at what needs to be done to ensure uniform and consistent levels of general security awareness and training across all airlines and airports."

The overall review will be led by the Ministry of Transport in close collaboration with the Civil Aviation Authority and Avsec, she said. The Ministry will consult with Police, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, airports, airlines and sector groups. The review will be complete by late May 2008.

"The Government constantly reviews aviation security threats, but following the recent events we think it is prudent to conduct a thorough review of aviation security in New Zealand," Ms King said.

"The safety of the travelling community is paramount. While we believe the recent attempted hijacking was a one-off occurrence by a disaffected person, the Government believes it is timely to review security requirements, including the costs and benefits of putting in place any additional security measures."

NB: The cabinet paper on which today's decisions are based can be read on www.transport.govt.nz The paper details costs associated with implementing various options. These costs are only preliminary esimates. More accurate figures will not be available until the review is completed.


ENDS

See... AviationSecurityCabinetPaper.pdf

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