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Reactions to the US demand for air marshals

The United States has ordered foreign airlines to put armed marshals on flights to and from the country as part of precautions against terrorist attacks.

This content was published on January 8, 2004 - 15:19

Several countries have already complied with the US demands, while others are still deciding whether to do so.

Austria - Agents in plain clothes have flown on selected Austrian Airlines flights to the United States and other destinations for many years.

Britain - The government insists that marshals will be used despite the reservations of some pilots.

Czech Republic - Czech Airlines (CSA) currently puts marshals on some flights and can respond to any US requests for more.

Denmark - The government has already ruled out armed guards on planes.

Egypt - The government says it will make a decision if it receives a US request.

France - Air France says it never had armed guards on flights prior to the 2003 pre-Christmas period. Air marshals could now be put on flights to the United States if information from US or domestic intelligence showed it was necessary.

Germany - Lufthansa has had marshals on passenger flights since October 2001. But travel operator Thomas Cook, partly owned by Lufthansa, has ruled out marshals on its flights.

Greece - The government is still clarifying its position and Olympic Airlines says it has not been officially informed.

Hungary – The national airline Malev says it will comply and has opened talks with police. A police spokesman said current legislation did not allow police to serve as air marshals and that the law would have to be amended.

Italy - Needs to pass a law allowing marshals on planes.

Mexico - Mexico has placed armed, undercover police on flights to key US destinations.

Netherlands - The Dutch justice ministry favours the air marshals’ plan and has trained about ten military police. Dutch pilots oppose the plan.

Poland - No decision yet.

Portugal - the civil aviation authority has said putting loaded guns on board an aircraft could endanger it.

South Africa – The national carrier says it will not meet US demands for the time being.

Spain - The Spanish pilots' association opposes marshals on flights. The government has not received an official US request.

Sweden - The authorities have ruled out using armed guards.

Switzerland - Swiss International Air Lines says it has had armed marshals on selected flights, including those bound for America, for some 30 years.

swissinfo with agencies

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