24 Apr 2017

NZ mulls extra checks on Middle East flights

10:23 am on 24 April 2017

New Zealand is considering additional security checks on flights from Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.

The Civil Aviation Authority "is assessing the evidence to determine what is appropriate," Mr Bridges told Reuters in an interview in Dubai.

Simon Bridges

Simon Bridges did not say what measures were being considered. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The new rules would follow similar measures introduced last month by the United States, Britain and Australia.

Additional security measures would affect passengers flying from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Doha, Qatar, where carriers Emirates and Qatar Airways, respectively, fly direct to New Zealand.

Mr Bridges said a decision to add new checks would be made independent of the government by the aviation authority.

He declined to say when a decision could be made. He did not say what measures were being considered.

On 25 March, the United States banned electronic devices larger than a mobile phone from passenger cabins of direct flights from eight countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, including Qatar and the UAE.

Britain followed the same day with similar measures, including banning larger electronics on flights from some Middle East countries but not Qatar and the UAE where it instead requested additional security checks.

Australia's additional checks on passengers and baggage apply to Qatar and the UAE as they are the only Middle East countries with which it has direct air links.

The additional security measures were made based on intelligence suggesting flights could be targeted for attack.

"What we have seen from them is a less than uniform way of doing things," Mr Bridges said of the different measures introduced by the United States, Britain and Australia.

- Reuters

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