‘Virtually no screening’ on tarmac workers a dangerous air security loophole


A senior Qantas pilot has blown the whistle on holes in the aviation security system.

A380 captain Murray Butt, who also serves as president of the Australian and International Pilots Association, admitted there were some “problems” in the system designed to keep passengers and crew safe.

“I think we need to be a little bit careful about being complacent,” he said.

“It would be impossible for anybody in the modern world to say that they were completely confident about being free from terrorism these days.”

Although passengers are heavily screened and checked before getting on board, it’s a different story on the tarmac.

“Below the aircraft a myriad of people, doing a myriad of jobs, from a myriad of backgrounds, are virtually getting no screening whatsoever,” Mr Butt said.

Engineers and baggage handlers on runways across the nation are not subject to explosives testing or X-ray screening.

Instead, they undergo a background check to get issued an aviation security identity card (ASIC).

However, there are vulnerabilities in the system.

“Because of the inability to do criminal background checks in some of the other countries, it’s not possible for them to find out what the background is of some of those people,” Mr Butt said.

A Current Affair understands a security worker was dismissed from the Sydney Airport check-in gates in recent months after a probe uncovered a concerning criminal history in his native India.

“As it is a vulnerable area we have concerns that somebody would try and use that for ill gains,” Mr Butt said.

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon is lobbying for the government to apply the same level of scrutiny to airport workers as the travellers on board the planes.

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Source: 9 News