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Thu, Jan 23, 2003

British Pilots' Association Cool on Guns

Unlike opinions expressed overwhelmingly by its American counterpart, the BALPA leadership isn't keen on allowing volunteer pilots to be armed.

In a general message largely overlooked on these shores, Captain Mervyn Granshaw, Chairman of the British Air Line Pilots’ Association (BALPA) said: "We have difficulties with the idea of having lethal weapons on board airliners. We have always supported enhanced security measures but we believe the emphasis must be on preventing potential terrorists boarding an aircraft in the first place."

Prefers profiling, baggage-matching:

"This means having effective counter measures such as passenger profiling and use of a system like the Matchmaker programme developed by QinetiQ. The technology now exists and BALPA believes that such systems should be available and in use at all check-ins along with improvements in baggage and passenger screening technology.

"I believe that this is the real way forward, along with increased security training for crew and airline managers. This would better prepare them for any threat posed by co-ordinated international terrorists and for increased awareness among the travelling public, they too have their part to play."

FMI: www.balpa.org.uk

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