Examination of Witnesses (Questions 140
WEDNESDAY 19 DECEMBER 2001
140. That would be from now on?
(Mr Toms) Yes, indeed.
141. The point is how much extra you have had
to do already.
(Mr Toms) Our estimate for this financial year, I
say, is around £4 million at the London airports and for
next year, as a broad estimate, probably around £10 million.
142. Have you given general advice to your airports?
(Mr Toms) On the level of security?
(Mr Toms) We have given a great deal of advice on
144. Is Manchester one of your members?
(Mr Anderson) It is an AOA member, not part of the
BAA. I think it is important to emphasise that the security measures
at airports are determined by the Government through the National
Aviation Security Programme.
Chairman: I was not suggesting that.
145. As somebody who regularly goes through
airports and has been through airports two times a week, three
times a week, since 11 September, I have to say that I have not
seen all that much difference in terms of security at all. Immediately
after it, yes, there was, but subsequent to that there has been
very little, if any, increase in security noticeable to the passenger.
Is that just me or is it the fact, as the Chairman has already
said, that the level of security is very, very high in any event
in British airports? You are not putting a case that is strong,
are you, on the basis of what the passengers see because they
do not see it?
(Mr Anderson) An individual passenger might not necessarily
perceive a change because, without going into detail, it is to
do with percentages. So as an individual you might get searched
or you might not but you would have no idea what the percentage
was of people being searched.
146. I am sorry to return to this. This Committee
did a detailed report on safety, as you know, some time ago. We
also looked at the means of mechanical aids which could be used
and at the expense of that very high quality security equipment
and lots of airports chose not to go down that particular route.
You have not come here this afternoon and said "we have had
to spend a vast amount on different equipment which is calibrated
in a different way and which has a much higher standard of security",
nor have you told us "we have trained vast numbers of extra
security operatives". I think this is a valid question.
(Mr Anderson) I agree it is a valid question and you
did ask me before to put a percentage on it and for my airport
I would say 10 to 12 per cent.
147. Do you want to guess, Mr Jowett?
(Mr Jowett) A guess would be something under 10 per
cent for the industry as a whole. I think BAA might have a number
which would substantiate that. Our numbers overall are a lot more
modest than the ones that the airlines were giving evidence about
earlier this afternoon.
148. Do you pay for the policing, for the Met
in London? Is that an additional cost?
(Mr Anderson) Only designated airports pay for policing,
so Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham pay for policing,
the other airports do not. That is something that you will have
noticed as you travel through airports, that most airports currently
have armed police present and that is an initiative by the Association
of Chief Police Officers.
(Mr Jowett) It is one of the areas that we are concerned
might be an additional cost, which we have not yet been able to
identify, which may be incurred on the industry in due course.
At this time we are not paying for those additional police but
it has been suggested by some forces that a charge might at some
future time arise.
149. You give the impression of being very reactive
but are you actually identifying security issues or are you held
back because you are not sure who is going to pay?
(Mr Anderson) Not at all, no. We are extremely proactive.
As soon as the events of 11 September occurred all airports introduced
their own enhanced security measures. So as soon as the Government
Circulars landed we were effectively already doing it.
(Mr Toms) Might I answer that. We would resist the
description of us as solely reactive in this case. If I may illustrate
the point. On September 11th itself when we received the first
notification of the first strike BAA immediately put its airports
on to red alert, all airports, without waiting for any direction
from the Department of Transport's Transec Division and raised
the rate of security very substantially. That was done without
any reference to requirements.
150. Are you convinced that international airports,
third country and non-EU airports are doing as much as UK airports
(Mr Toms) I have to say it is very difficult to speak
on a subject in which the population is so large. The best evidence
we can take on this is the large number of enquiries we have received
from third country airports and governments asking us what we
do and asking us for advice on how we might help them to improve
their security measures. I think it is fair to say that the level
of security is very patchy but people are now focused much more
on bringing the standards of all up to the best.
151. Following my earlier question to the other
witnesses, is there any evidence, for example, that airports like
Manchester Airport are laying off security guards because the
forecast of passengers is less than anticipated, particularly
(Mr Anderson) What I would like to say about that
is I have spoken today to the Managing Director of Manchester
Airport and he has said absolutely what Mr Parker-Eaton said earlier,
that there is no diminution of security standards at Manchester
Airport and they implement the requirements to the letter.
152. The point I am trying to make is that 200
security guards will go, is that because the projections of traffic
(Mr Anderson) They are running their business in a
business-like way and that is something they have got to answer
in detail. That is an input, if you like. What I am talking about
is the outputs on which they have given an assurance.
Miss McIntosh: Who does the checks and what
checks are done on the backgrounds of people employed in security?
Chairman: There has been no alteration in the
normal way of checking safety at airports.
153. I am talking about people with criminal
records who apply to work in the security of airports.
(Mr Anderson) It comes through the Government departments.
154. There has been no change in the way these
things are done?
(Mr Anderson) No.
The Committee suspended from 5.32 pm to 5.42
pm for a division in the House.
155. Has there been an increase in bomb alerts
at airports over the last year? Secondly, what is the cost of
screening of hand luggage to go in the hold? Would you make it
a requirement that hand luggage should go into the hold and be
checked in rather than be allowed as hand luggage?
(Mr Toms) I am afraid I do not have the figures for
you on bomb alerts. We can certainly get that for you and convey
it on. In relation to hand baggage, the requirement is a requirement
which would be established by the Transec Division of the Department
of Transport and we would react to it accordingly. At the moment,
as I am sure you know, we do screen all hull baggage anyway and
we screen the proportion of hand baggage as required by the Department.
156. Is it possible Leeds Bradford has any comparisons
since September 11th as to what the passenger freight has been
in comparison with rail traffic from Leeds Station? Do you have
(Mr Anderson) Passenger carryings?
(Mr Anderson) Our Heathrow traffic is significantly
down but, as I mentioned before, we were comparing with a year
ago when everyone was desperate to get a flight to London. From
memory, our Heathrow traffic has been in excess of 25 per cent
down with that other factor built in.
158. One of the unions is proposing that body
checks be introduced for all travellers, as already happens at
Berlin Airport. Would you support such a move and would that increase
(Mr Jowett) It is being considered and discussed in
working groups set up under the Department's governance. It is
early days yet to come to a conclusion. It would certainly add
time to passengers going through the airport and it would add
to costs. Alternative technological answers are obviously also
being considered, use of biometrics and other secure systems passing
passengers through under close consideration. Can I also just
come back on an earlier question when Miss McIntosh asked a question
about the percentage of increase in security costs. The £15
million additional cost that we are currently incurring, and I
have to put that in context, that is the current additional cost
and does not take account of the additional capital expenditure
sums which we are pretty sure are going to be around the corner
with new proposals coming in, we believe on a consensus that is
about five to 10 per cent additional cost to our industry. I would
like, also, to clarify what I said earlier when I said it is a
small modest amount compared with the airlines. The airlines,
I think, earlier talked about an additional security charge, they
were asking the Government to help them with, of £5 per passenger.
The figures that we are directly incurring at the moment are about
10 pence a departing passenger from the UK airports.
159. Largely because you started from a fairly
(Mr Jowett) Because we started from a high base, doubtless
the airlines have costs at the other end.