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"Swiss" steps up airline security

Swiss is stepping up security on its long-haul aircraft.

(Swiss)

The national airline "Swiss" has tightened security aboard its fleet of long-haul aircraft in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The carrier said on Friday it had fitted bulletproof cockpit doors in all 26 aircraft servicing long-haul routes, at a cost of SFr140,000 per plane.

Spokesman Markus Baumgartner said swiss was one of the first airlines to introduce the new security measures following September 11, when terrorists attacked key targets in the US using four hijacked planes.

"Switzerland is leading the way in the introduction of new security measures," he said.

"Sky Marshals"

According to Baumgartner, work to improve onboard security started at the beginning of the year. Video surveillance was being introduced and specially trained security agents, known as "Sky Marshals" would travel on certain flights.

Baumgartner said the special doors could only be operated from within the cockpit, where video monitors would alert the pilot to possible danger. At the press of a button he or she would then be able to seal off the cockpit.

In installing the new doors, swiss is falling into line with a ruling by the US airline authority FAA that all planes flying into the US be equipped with the new safety feature by November 2003.

"We are assuming that the FAA will soon require this level of supervision in all aircraft," Baumgartner said. He added that the decision to install video surveillance was swiss's own initiative.

swissinfo


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