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Report into how ‘explosives’ passed airport security with police chiefs

Larnaca airport, Hermes airport, airport security
File photo

A report into the events surrounding an incognito exercise conducted at Larnaca airport on March 9 by two officers posing as civilians were able to pass dummy explosives and knives through security has been handed to police leadership.

Police spokesman Christos Andreou said on Monday there are ongoing discussions on how to improve security at the airport.

Speaking to CyBC radio, he said that corrective measures have been taken in the past and that they will be strengthened in order to guarantee the highest level of security for passengers and staff.

News of the exercise was first brought to light by daily Politis last week.

The operation was ordered by the police director of airport security Yiannakis Xanthou, and the officers were easily able to get the dummy 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 only 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 employed at the airport was screening passengers.

Commenting on the report last 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.

Communication officer at Hermes Maria 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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