Permanent Screening for Domestic Air Travellers

  • Mark Gosche
Transport

The current temporary measures for screening domestic air travellers and carry-on baggage in New Zealand are to become permanent, Transport Minister Mark Gosche announced today.

Screening of passengers travelling on domestic regular air transport services was introduced after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Domestic passengers are currently screened at six New Zealand airports – Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown and Rotorua.

The current temporary measures are scheduled to end on 21 December, but Cabinet agreed today that screening would become permanent at those airports where the temporary measures are in place, Mr Gosche said.

“While the current level of threat to New Zealand of terrorist attacks is perceived to be low, the Government feels it is necessary to implement permanent screening.“

The screening will apply to all domestic passengers on flights of over 90 seats.

The Aviation Security Service and the aviation industry will need to work together to resolve issues arising from the design of the affected airport terminals, Mr Gosche said.

“These infrastructure issues may take some months to work through. But I am confident that all parties will work together to reduce delays for the travelling public where-ever possible.”

Officials will shortly begin talks with representatives from the aviation industry to discuss how best to fund permanent screening arrangements. No decision had been made on funding, Mr Gosche said.

Other aviation security options that are being considered internationally are being looked at in New Zealand as part of a strategic review into aviation security that will be completed by Christmas.

The raft of additional security measures also in place on international flights since 12 September, particularly services bound for the United States, are also likely to continue for the foreseeable future, said the Minister.

“These measures are required to enable New Zealand to meet its regulatory requirements as well as those requirements placed on individual carriers by their governments.”