04 July 2014 at 08.21 GMT
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Airline passengers have been warned to expect extra checks for the foreseeable future, after theUS called on European airports to tighten security in case transatlantic flights are targeted by terrorists.
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said enhanced checks, which are likely to include more scrutiny of shoes and electronic devices, were not a temporary measure.
“I don’t think we should expect this to be just a one-off temporary thing. We have to make sure that the checks are there to meet the nature of the new kinds of threats,” he told LBC radio.
“I don’t want people think that this is just a blip for a week. This is part of an evolving and constant review about whether the checks we have in our airports, and indeed in other places of entry and exit from countries, keeps up with what we know.”
His comments and those from other politicians prompted headlines this morning warning of a ‘summer of misery’ for travellers.
The clampdown came after a request from the US Department of Homeland Security amid concern that groups linked to al-Qaeda could evade existing checks.
Increased use of random swabs, designed to detect signs of explosives, is one measure likely to be employed, the Financial Times reported.
But Clegg said: “We don’t think the majority of travellers going on holiday, or going elsewhere for business, are going to be unduly disrupted.”
US officials said the tighter security was not the result of a specific threat but was a response to potential new bomb designs that might not be picked up by existing procedures. An official said the current focus of the US was on flights to the US from Europe and the Middle East.
Passengers travelling through Heathrow yesterday complained that a more stringent security regime was already in force, with electronic items being closely examined, more intrusive physical “pat downs” being carried out and more explosives swab tests on shoes, according to the Times.
Heathrow declined to comment on security matters.
Sourced from Travel Weekly