Domestic flight security changes likely to address terrorism risk - Government


Security rules for domestic flights in New Zealand are likely to be tightened by next year, the Government says.

Changes to security rules for domestic flights in New Zealand are likely due to the rising risk of a terrorist attack, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.

Global aviation security rules have been under scrutiny since a bomb brought down a Russian passenger plane over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula last month, killing all 224 people on board.

Russia's FSB security service said on Wednesday (NZT) that a bomb had brought down the plane, and the Islamic State terrorist group later released a photo of the bomb that it said had been used in the attack.

The device Islamic State claims brought down a Russian airliner.

The device Islamic State claims brought down a Russian airliner.

Terror attacks in Paris last week which killed 129 people have also created unease around the world about the rising threat of terrorism.

Bridges said the Government had started a review of domestic aviation security arrangements last year, after New Zealand's terror risk level was upgraded.

He did not want to pre-empt the review's findings or discuss any "particular vulnerabilities" that there could be, but said the Government was not aware of any specific flaws with the security of domestic flights.

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The review would cover a wide range of potential aviation security risks and was likely to lead to changes by next year, Bridges said.

"It'll look at everything from cabin crew through to the baggage, the cargo, the catering, obviously the ground crew and the like on the ground, and I think change is likely."

He denied the current security arrangements were "lax", but said the Egypt bombing and terrorist attacks in Paris meant it was prudent to look at changes.

"I don't think it's been lax -  I think it's been appropriate, if you like, proportionate for where we've been, but what is true is the risk level has elevated somewhat at the end of last year.

"We're not aware of specific threats or risks in relation to New Zealand so the risk level hasn't changed [since the bombing] but we're only we do need to make our way through [the review]."

An Air New Zealand spokesperson said they worked closely with the government and would adapt their security practices if advised to.

"Naturally we always comply with security standards set by New Zealand and international regulators and we welcome working with the government on any potential enhancements to safety and security for the benefit of our customers."

 - Stuff