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Air travel barely safer since Sept 11: Report

india Updated: Sep 09, 2006 05:12 IST

Airline transport is only slightly safer today than in 2001 despite the millions invested since the September 11 attacks, according to an expert quoted in the specialist Jane's Airport Review.

Travellers are still at risk despite countless government reports highlighting the need for action over aviation security, analyst Chris Yates said on Thrusday.

"The recent alleged plot to down up to 12 airliners over the North Atlantic is the latest of several events in the past five years that highlight the continued threat to air travel," he added.

Yates also referred to the downing of two Russian aircraft by suicide bombers and to two major robberies at London's Heathrow airport since 2001.

"Weaknesses in checkpoint security have long been considered by analysts as the Achilles heel of aviation security; checkpoint and cargo screening urgently need solutions better suited to meeting modern-day threats," he said.

The expert called for better embarkation controls, including passenger profiling.

More than USD 20 billion dollars spent in the last five years in the United States have not plugged holes in the system highlighted by the September 11 attacks, he added.

"Only a small proportion of money has been dedicated to research and development of new solutions to meet new threats and a range of technologies already exists."

"Now all that is required is the will to spend money to protect the travelling public," Yates said.