Editorial: Holes in airport security raise real concern

CONFUSION, nervous energy and tension.

All words used to describe the scenes at Sydney airport over the weekend following a crackdown on security in the wake of anti-terrorism raids over the weekend.

The hyped-up security led to massive delays and long queues, with airlines warning passengers to leave extra time to avoid missing flights.

As Fairfax Media reported, queues at Sydney Airport became so long over the weekend that one passenger said there was “not enough pavement for everyone”.

As inconvenient as it might be, we are, as a society, becoming more used to these things.

We also tend to be more willing to accept them.

In an era where the risk posed by terrorism is firmly ingrained in all of our minds, we have become more and more used to the more intensive security measures at places seen as high-risk targets for terrorist attacks, such as airports. 

And the dramatic arrest of an Islamist-inspired terrorist cell in Sydney whose members were allegedly plotting to blow up an aircraft only serves to reinforce that message.

Fairfax has reported that a home-made bomb was allegedly found in a Surry Hills terrace, possibly to be planted on a commercial flight to the Middle East.

While heavy-handed security should not be accepted as the new norm permanently, in this context the view of most people seems to be that it’s worth a small inconvenience in the name of safety.

Which is why the loop-hole in airport security at Newcastle Airport that the Newcastle Herald has uncovered is so worrying.

In an age when our security agencies are so vigilant about the risk from terror, particularly at airports, it’s unnerving to think that domestic passengers are able to travel under false identities.

Which is not to suggest that those taking advantage of the loop-hole are necessarily up to no good.

Like the passenger quoted in the Herald, most are simply looking to save money on booking fees. 

But it doesn’t change the fact that it exposes what must surely be an oversight in airport security protocols.

Here’s hoping agencies respond in a timely fashion. 

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