Australia to randomly screen travelers from the Middle East for explosives

An Emirates spokesman told ArabianBusiness.com passengers traveling from Dubai International Airport to Australia should allow more time for clearance at the gate. Source: Shutterstock/aapsky

GULF airlines Emirates and Etihad will face additional security measures beginning April 6, including “explosive detection screening” on flights to Australia.

The screenings – conducted at random – will take place at the Australian boarding gates, and will target passengers flying in from a handful of Middle Eastern cities such as Doha, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi.

Australia’s Transport Minister Darren Chester told Reuters: “Explosive detection screening will be conducted for randomly selected passengers and their baggage. Checks may also include targeted screening of electronic devices.”

Chester said the flights were already subject to gate screening measures that had been in place in Australia since 2007, and no electronics ban would be carried out at this stage.

An Emirates spokesman told ArabianBusiness.com passengers traveling from Dubai International Airport to Australia should allow more time for clearance at the gate.

Last month, a controversial US ban on electronic devices on planes created a stir in the airline industry.

The US Department of Homeland Security said passengers traveling from a specific list of airports could not bring into the main cabin devices larger than a mobile phone such as tablets, portable DVD players, laptops and cameras.

Select airlines such as Qatar Airways and Etihad have implemented programs where passengers can loan laptops and iPads.

SEE ALSO: In response to laptop ban, Etihad offers free iPads on flights

Airlines have expressed concern about the implications of the ban, especially among the rapidly growing Gulf airlines that bank on business travelers.

Gulf powerhouse Emirates president Tim Clark told CNN, “To suggest Dubai doesn’t have the equal capabilities or better than the Europeans, the Americans and the Asians in terms of search, interdiction and surveillance, I find amazing.”