Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Frankfurt Airport Security 'Failed To Detect 50% of Dangerous Weapons' - Undercover Inspection

German hub airport could lose its Schengen zone border-free status, according to reports, following EU investigation into security failings. Frankfurt airport has imposed manual searches of passenger bags after an undercover inspection reportedly found that dangerous weapons and other banned items passed through security undetected 50 per cent of the time.
The airport said it would retrain thousands of staff after the investigation last month by the European Commission found that security staff were unable to spot devices designed to simulate guns, explosives and other dangerous objects in X-ray scans.
"We have taken immediate action to further ensure the safety of passengers," a police spokesman, Christian Altenhofen, told reporters.
Full details of the findings have not been made public. But according to a report in Bild newspaper, if security is not improved Frankfurt could be stripped of its status as a Schengen Area airport, meaning passengers travelling through it would have to undergo additional security checks on arrival at other airports in the border-free Schengen zone.
Frankfurt, which handled 58m passengers last year, is Germany's largest airport and the third busiest in Europe, and any lapse in security will raise grave concerns. The airport is a major international hub for connecting flights, and the main base for Lufthansa, Europe's largest airline group.
Passengers have been warned to expect longer queues and boarding times after manual searches were imposed on one in four bags. The security lapses were reportedly all down to staff unable to read X-ray images correctly, and some 2,500 personnel are to be retrained.

"We take this very seriously," said Christopher Holschier, a spokesman for Fraport, the company which operates the airport. The company has said it will use the European Commission's findings to improve staff training.

The loss of Schengen Area status would be hugely damaging for Frankfurt's reputation and status as a hub, but police sources are confident that can be avoided, according to a report in Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper.

Federal police are responsible for security at the airport, but it is subcontracted to Fraport and I-SEC, an aviation security company based in the Netherlands.

The European Commission has declined to comment on the inspection or its findings, beyond confirming that it carries out regular checks on security at EU airports, and saying that member states are expected to act quickly on any shortcomings that are found.

Source:
The Telegragh