Dear Sir, IN today's Viewpoint our editor complains about the different levels of efficiency when comparing airport security at Palma (good) with Gatwick (bad). My concerns are not about efficiency but effectiveness. Some airports have different levels of security – some check shoes, some don't, some airports have stringent security others less. Any terrorist worth his salt will enter the system at its weakest point. I contend that much of the security is window dressing – the most glaring example was in 2003 when tanks were deployed at Heathrow. Surprise, surprise al Qaeda did not turn up at the airport with their own Panzer but two years later British-born Muslim fanatics took on the easier target of the London Underground. Carrying out checks at the departure lounge is largely a waste of time. During the last year before the advent of the euro, I went twice a week into the airport to empty charity boxes full of soon to be redundant pesetas. These were placed at the departure gates in each of the four terminal areas. Without CCTV airside many were broken into and had to be repaired. To do this I carried into this “secure area” a drill, 20 metres of electric cable, a screw driver and Stanley knife. I could have passed these deadly tools to a checked through terrorist passenger and negate all the security at the departure lounge. Middle East airlines suffered many hijacks but learned to carry out their checks on the tarmac (baggage identification and search) or on the plane itself (passenger frisking). This was a little unnerving as you stood in the aisle with one security guard searching you while he stood in one of the special bullet proofed rows of seats. A second guard was some 10 feet up the aisle with a drawn pistol. Frightening perhaps, slow for sure but effective security and justified to get me safe and sound to my destination.

Mike Lillico, Playa de Palma


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