Airports Council International Europe says an impact study of the new measures is at least a year away, but the trade body will conduct an investigation along the same lines as the study carried out in 2003 to assess the longer-term impact of the September 2001 terror attacks on the industry. "Most airports are not even in a position to measure the consequences on an individual basis at the moment. They are still coming to terms with the new situation," it says.

The European Commission (EC) has adopted a regulation to harmonise procedures throughout the European Union (EU), with passengers allowed to take containers of liquid of up to 100ml on board and present them to security staff in a clear plastic bag. The task now is to ensure the new measures are understood by the public. The EC, the Association of European Airlines (AEA) and ACI Europe have been working together to agree a simple, clear message, without being so vague as to cause misunderstandings. This message will be conveyed via various methods, including video screens, posters and websites.

While happy with the EC's progress, the lack of harmonisation with countries outside the EU, including the rest of Europe and the USA, is a worry. A passenger could buy duty free goods at New York JFK, for instance, and fly to London Heathrow with no problems, but would not be able to take the items onto a transfer flight.

Iberia chairman Fernando Conte urged carriers in a speech to the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) to join together and lobby governments to harmonise security policies. He complains the airline industry is often overlooked by European politicians and airlines have no influence despite its importance to local economies. "We are easy prey," he says.

The AEA and ACI Europe are already working together to take a long-term view on the issue of security, realising this is unlikely to be the last time the industry has to tackle a sudden change to the rule book. ERA has also made security a top priority and is pushing for state funding to cover the extra layers of security. "The latest security measures have serious cost implications for all of us," says ERA president and Aegean Airlines chief operating officer Antonis Simigdalas.

Aer Arann executive chairman Padraig O´Ceidigh says the security added since August has "cost implications for all ERA members and all airlines and airports". He adds: "It's our companies that carry the can."

Cardiff airport managing director Jon Horne warns the August terror scare in the UK "no doubt won't be the last", and says: "We need to have dialogue in the industry to be prepared as well as we can be when it happens again."

Conte says: "We need to take into consideration higher security measures are here to stay. We need to make sure infrastructure and resources are [put in place at airports] for that scenario."

He adds many airports do not have enough equipment to meet the current requirement and passengers really need "one-stop security in Europe".

Source: Airline Business