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Is this actually a good idea?

The aviation industry remains a popular target for terrorism. Picture: Trev Grant

Ryan KeenGold Coast Bulletin

A BAN on everyone but passengers at airports is among radical ideas to lessen effects of terror attacks like the detonations which rocked Belgium recently.

Another is having luggage picked up from your house prior to check-in and it going via secure transfer to the airport.

The ideas, floated yesterday at a global aviation talkfest on the Gold Coast, have emerged as airports grapple with how to reduce crowds ripe for attacks at check-in.

Last month, two nail bombs in large suitcases were detonated amid check-in area crowds of Brussels Airport killing 17 people immediately and injuring more than 80.

Attendees to the 11th ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly at Broadbeach’s Convention Centre heard the aviation industry continues to be a terrorism favourite because it creates environments for mass casualty and results in severe economic fallout for the region it occurs.

Australia’s Office of Transport Security executive director Sachi Wimmer told attendees: “While the aviation sector is growing and bringing tourism benefits, one thing unlikely to change is aviation will remain a terrorism target.”

Passengers could be the only ones allowed inside airport terminals under the radical proposal.

Passengers could be the only ones allowed inside airport terminals under the radical proposal.Source:News Limited

The region had done a good job of “hardening” airports against terror but “we are going to struggle to harden even further unless we go to saying only passengers can enter into airports which I can’t see anyone doing”, she said.

However, conference speaker Will Thickett, the blast and security leader for ARUP which consults on airport security, said it was an idea that should remain on the table.

“Depending on what happens with the threat, I don’t think we should shut our ears to any idea and we should be looking at the positives and negatives.”

Mr Thickett said the idea of luggage pick-ups from passenger homes prior to check-in was a long-term future view with huge commercial implications.

“(But) all these different views of operation are things we should be looking at — and not have the blind view we have to do it the way we have always done it.”

Gold Coast Airport CEO Marion Charlton said the idea to only allow passengers in airports was not popular. Picture: John Gass

Gold Coast Airport CEO Marion Charlton said the idea to only allow passengers in airports was not popular. Picture: John GassSource:News Corp Australia

Asked about a passenger-only airport scenario, Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer Marion Charlton said the existing security threat level had not changed so it was hypothetical.

“The passenger farewell and welcome is such an integral part of the airport experience and we are not in a hurry to change it at the Gold Coast.”

As for remote luggage pick-ups, she said the technology was available to check-in and tag bags remotely.

“Concern would be around the security of the bag while en route to the airport. Gold Coast Airport sees real benefit in this type of service being offered at hotels once these security concerns can be overcome.”

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