“A significant development in the security measures at Kuwait International Airport will be witnessed soon, as a series of security processes and steps are being implemented with the aim of meeting the necessary security requirements particularly for foreign airlines”, reports Al- Rai daily quoting high-level government sources as saying.
They explained that the political authorities of the United Kingdom recently indicated the possibility of suspending British Airways flights to and from Kuwait within a few months if the security measures at Kuwait International Airport are not improved. United States of America had earlier presented a similar complaint to the concerned Kuwaiti authorities. In detail, the Kuwaiti government had received an official letter from the relevant US authorities of aviation security more than six months ago.
This letter included a stern warning about the security loopholes in Kuwait International Airport which needed to be addressed. In fear of those who can take advantage of these security loopholes at the airport, the US authorities warned that they will stop all flights to and from the US and Kuwait in order to ensure passenger safety, if necessary changes were not made.
Kuwait received such a warning from the US authorities more than once and were demanded to improve the security measures at the airport. The Kuwaiti government responded very quickly, and formed a team comprising of officials from relevant ministries and authorities who prepared a comprehensive report about the problem, recommended some measures and initiated their immediate implementation. These measures included providing necessary training to the airport employees, installing advanced and sophisticated inspection devices, tightening inspection procedures, improving control and accounting systems, and intensifying the sanctions against non-diligent and negligent staff.
The sources indicated that the UK authorities followed their American counterparts in warning about the consequences of the security lax at the airport. They revealed that the British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who recently visited Kuwait, thanked the country for some of the actions that were taken. However, he said it is not enough and many other security demands have to be met in order to avoid the US airlines from suspending their operations to Kuwait due to the presence of security flaws. The sources added Kuwait’s response to this was clear with the affirmation that the improvement of security measures at the airport is one of the top priorities of the government and that work is underway to eliminate all security loopholes.
Meanwhile, the British Ambassador to Kuwait Matthew Lodge, in response to a question about Hammond’s comment on the weak security measures at the airport, said the bilateral relations between Britain and Kuwait are very strong at all levels. He added he cannot reveal to the media about the details of the talks between the officials of both countries during private meetings. In addition, British Airways has denied that it threatened to cancel all flights to Kuwait over security concerns.
According to a report published in the Arabic daily ‘Al Arabiya’ on Friday, the airlines had warned Kuwaiti authorities that it will suspend its operations in the country if the security standards at the airport are not improved. However, British Airways described the report as a “rumor”, affirming in a statement to Arabian Business that, “We will continue our normal operations to Kuwait. We will not comment on any rumors or speculations”.
Source: Arab Times