This week, the IATA unveiled a vision of what the TSA checks could look like, with a "checkpoint of the future" that funnels passengers into three security lanes: enhanced security, normal security and "known traveller". Passengers are allocated the appropriate lane by an iris-recognition system linked to a government database, with known travellers going via a single, elongated arch through an x-ray check, a metal detector and a check for liquids. Checks that are known to frustrate millions of passengers, such as shoe scans, would be avoided.
Stringent security measures in the US are a source of frustration within the aviation industry, with British Airways among the most outspoken critics of a regime that, owing to the sheer size and profitability of the market, has the power to dictate global trends. For instance, the European commission admitted last month that it had been forced to abandon a partial relaxation of the ban on carrying liquids on to planes after pressure from the US government.
Sir Martin Broughton, chairman of BA, has warned that the industry is "kowtowing" to American security concerns. In a speech earlier this year he said: "The current procedures have grown, Topsy-like, with each new procedure being superimposed on the existing structure every time there is a new security incident.
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