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Airport (Security Services)

Volume 978: debated on Thursday 7 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will now provide representatives of the airline industry with comprehensive cost data on the administration and operation of security services at British airports.

Detailed information about the overall cost of anti-terrorist security measures at United Kingdom airports has been made available since the setting up of the aviation security fund. In addition, data about labour costs and manpower levels at particular airports—the seven airports managed by the British Airports Authority, and Manchester, Luton and Birmingham—have recently been made available to a study group consisting of representatives of airports and airlines.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will give a general directive to the British Airport Authority that it should examine, in conjunction with affected airlines, arrangements which will offer incentives to the authorities responsible for airport security to operate in the most cost-effective manner.

I have no power to direct the British Airports Authority to make such an examination. The consultation arrangements between the British Airports Authority and airlines are a matter for the authority. The Department of Trade is at present examining with representatives of the industry, including airlines and the British Airports Authority, whether the present arrangements for financing anti-terrorist security measures offer adequate incentives for containing expenditure.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will now authorise airlines to negotiate directly with the providers of security services on the costs of such services.

No. The Department reimburses to the providers of security services—whether airports or airlines—reasonable costs incurred.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) what was the total cost of security services provided at British airports in the most recent year for which information is available;(2) what he expects to be the total cost of security services provided at British airports in the forthcoming year.

Total expenditure on anti-terrorist security measures at United Kingdom airports in the financial year 1978–79 amounted to £21,040,000. Estimated expenditure in 1979–80 is £31,879,000, and in 1980–81, £38,307,000. Further details are given in a background paper entitled "Aviation Security Fund (Second Amendment) Regulations 1980" placed in the House of Commons library on 15 January 1980.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what information he has on current levels of security service costs per passenger handled at British, European and North American airports.

The cost of anti-terrorist security measures at United Kingdom airports—including passenger searching, airport security and policing, and the purchase of detection equipment—is expected to come to about £1·16 per arriving passenger in 1979–80. European and North American airports work on different systems and I do not have comparable figures.