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Scottish Airports (Security)

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 10 October 2006

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer, but does he accept that there is a need for an assessment to be made following the new regulations that seem to be in force across airports in Scotland? As part of that assessment, will he look at the position at Prestwick, which seems to have a far more efficient service than those that operate in other airports in Scotland?

I assure my hon. Friend that we keep the security regime at all the UK’s airports under constant review. It is determined on the basis of level of national threat, and clearly there have been changes both to the threat level and to the security regime implemented at our airports since the events of 10 August. However, it would be remiss of me both in relation to Prestwick and the operation of other major airports, including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, not to take the opportunity to place on record my personal gratitude as Transport Secretary for the work that was done in Scottish airports during August. It is significant that the level of performance not just at Prestwick, but at other Scottish airports, was outstanding in what were very demanding circumstances.

When the right hon. Gentleman is having these discussions, will he make sure that his colleagues are aware of the excellent work done by the staff and management at Inverness airport, not just in security, but in developing new routes and services that are bringing substantial benefits to the economy of the highlands and islands?

I am not quite sure with whom I am due to be having conversations—perhaps with myself. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I am fully aware of the level of service that was provided at Inverness, as well as at other airports. I know that he has been pursuing the matter of the route development out of Inverness airport for some time and that he continues to raise it with the Government.

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right to congratulate the management and staff at all UK airports—particularly those at Glasgow airport—on their work during the recent security threat. Will he also welcome the recent announcement by BAA of the significant investment at Glasgow airport, which will enhance the security at that airport and also make it easily accessible for people to travel from?

As a regular traveller through Glasgow airport, I am fully aware of the outstanding service that was provided, although the support for the new security regime has not been universal. When I was travelling with my four-year-old son a couple of weeks back, he had to take off his wellington boots at the security comb. He asked, “Why do I have to take off my wellies?” and the security guard replied, “Because your dad’s making everybody take off their wellingtons.” [Laughter.] Notwithstanding that one rather sceptical voice, I am happy to place on the record my admiration of the staff and management at Glasgow airport.