France has been rocked by its own version of the Anglo-Saxon journalist trick of by-passing airport security after a television crew was able to smuggle explosives onto Air France and Delta Air Lines flights.
The investigative journalism series Pièces à Conviction ("evidence") is airing a film made by undercover reporter Laurent Richard tonight on airport security. In it Richard, accompanied by security expert Christophe Naudin, is reportedly filmed on board an Air France Airbus A320 family aircraft to Nice carrying de-activated Semtex explosive and a detonator in his hand baggage.
On a second occasion, the pair carried two utility knives, similar to those used by the 11 September 2001 hijackers, aboard a Delta Air Lines Boeing 767 bound for New York JF Kennedy airport. The television footage reportedly shows security staff looking away as the weapons show clearly on x-ray screeners.
Finally, Richard and Naudin pack a compound with the same chemical signature as the plastic explosive Semtex in hold baggage on domestic flights. All security breaches took place during December.
Reaction in France has been damning, with commentators in newspapers and television urging an immediate review of security measures at French airports.
The programme is set to air on French television tonight at 20:00 on France 3 and both Air France and Aéroports de Paris are declining to comment ahead of its screening. In August Australian satirists The Chaser used hidden cameras to show Virgin Blue staff making boarding calls for "Al-Quaeda" and "Terrorist.”