The government has announced a wide-ranging list of measures to enhance airline security in the UK including the drawing up of a ‘no fly’ list of potential terrorists.
The Home Office’s watch list of suspects would form the basis of two lists – a no fly list of those people not allowed to fly to the UK.
And a larger list identifying those who should be subjected to special measures, including enhanced screening, before being able to board a plane to Britain.
The move is in direct response to the attempted Christmas Day attack of an airline on its way from Amsterdam to Detroit by a Nigerian national studying in the UK.
Other measures include: the immediate suspension of direct flights to Yemen, where the alleged terrorist, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was apparently radicalized by al-Qaeda.
There will also be a greater sharing of information with security agencies abroad and an ability to track people travelling into any major airport in the UK.
The government was also looking into the most sophisticated technology to identify hidden explosives, alongside the introduction of new body scanners in UK airports, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said today in Parliament.
Speaking during Prime Minister’s Question Time today, Brown described Yemen as both “an incubator and potential safe haven” for terrorism.
He added that the government would work with the country to improve its security regime.
“We have agreed with Yemenia airlines – pending enhanced security – that they suspend their direct flights to the UK from Yemen with immediate effect.
“We are working closely with the Yemeni government to agree what security measures need to be put in place before flights are resumed.
“Aviation security officials are in Sana’a at present looking at this. I hope that flights can be resumed soon – but the security of our citizens must be our priority.”
He added: “Today’s announcements demonstrate that we will continue to be vigilant, adapting our response to changing terrorist techniques.”
Next week the government will be hosting a special meeting to support for Yemen in its efforts against al-Qaida.
Brown added that he had spoken to US President Barack Obama about proposed measures designed to strengthen the protection of the UK’s borders, maximise aviation security and to enhance intelligence coordination “at home and abroad”.