Cyprus Mail

Airport security under scrutiny

Larnaca airport, Hermes airport, airport security
File photo

Corrective measures have been taken at the airports police said on Friday, following a report that two officers posing as civilians were able to pass explosives and knives through Larnaca airport security.

Meanwhile, airport operator, Hermes, has said that the correct protocol may not have been followed by the officers in this particular instance.

According to a report in daily Politis, two officers were able to walk through Larnaca airport on March 9, with bomb materials and knives.

The operation was ordered by the police director of airport security, Yiannakis Xanthou, and the officers were easily able to get the dangerous items through the security check areas of the airport, the report said.

However, Xanthou allegedly ordered the operation without informing the civil aviation authority or the airport operator.

The authorities, including the transport and justice ministers, were informed about the operation after the fact. They were reportedly incensed by apparent gaps in security where passengers’ hand baggage is scanned and body checks are conducted.

The drill took place on the morning of March 9, from 8am to 11am, which is a time that there are not a lot of people in the airport, Politis reported. The goal of the operation was to see how ready the Greek private security company at the airport was screening passengers.

A representative from the company told Politis: “It seems that a police officer arbitrarily decided to conduct this specific check and is claiming that he was able to get a bomb through.”

Commenting on the report on Friday, Police Chief Stelios Papatheodorou said that these were security issues that are not normally made public, adding that corrective measures were taken based on European protocols followed by the civil aviation authority.

“It is legitimate to conduct tests for the security of our airports,” he said.

Speaking on the CyBC radio in the morning, the Senior Manager of Aviation Development, Marketing and Communication at Hermes Maria Kouroupi said that it was not certain whether the claims made in Politis were real.

She added that there was a “serious chance” the whole operation was conducted without having followed all the protocols.

Kouroupi assured the public that all protocols and checks are being followed at the airports as set out in international law.

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