Published on : Tuesday, January 31, 2017
While one side of the travel news was flooded with rant and rages following the tougher US restrictions, Scottish aviation made a move for more relaxed, passenger-friendly travel. The unlikely setting was at Campbeltown airport in south-west Scotland — henceforth known as “the no-frills airport with subtracted security”.
History was made for the first time in nearly half a century when a scheduled flight took off from an airport on the British mainland without the usual security checks for passengers or their possessions. Loganair flight 6844 departed from Campbeltown, destination Glasgow, with 15 passengers aboard — none of whom had been frisked or had their baggage rummaged through.
The rules such as banning of sharp objects, firearms and liquids in containers over 100ml still apply however, a simple oral declaration that they are not carrying any of the banned items is good enough from them to pass the security check.
It is believed to be the first time anyone has breezed through a mainland airport on to a scheduled flight since the early 1970s. Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL), which operates Campbeltown, said that the new arrangements have been agreed and approved by the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority. They continue to place safety and security at the forefront of every passenger’s journey, whilst offering facilitation benefits in most cases.
However, the Prospect union, which publicised the abolition of security at Campbeltown and two island airports, claims the move makes a terrorist attack “far more likely”, pointing out that flight paths into Glasgow pass close to nuclear power facilities, an oil terminal and Ministry of Defence establishments.
Loganair’s managing director, Jonathan Hinkles, disagreed, rejecting the concept of what he called a “one-size fits all approach to airline security”.
Support for the lighter-touch approach came from the leading aviation security expert, Philip Baum who said that screening does not have to be performed by examinations by X-ray systems, but behavioural analysis.
Normally when a domestic flight arrives at Glasgow airport, passengers are free to go straight to another airside departure gate to catch an onward flight. However, travellers on flight 6844 were diverted away to the baggage reclaim area and the landside exit. Anyone catching an onward flight from Glasgow must go through the full security check.