Pilots Demand Strict Airport Security to Prevent Future Terrorist Hijackings

The Belgian Association of Pilots and Navigators have demanded stringent security precautions at Brussels and other foreign airports to prevent a repetition of the hijacking of a Sabena jet by Palestinian terrorists on May 9. The four hijackers, all heavily armed, managed to board the plane at Brussels without being detected.

A member of the Belgian Chamber of Deputies said today that the hijacking could not have occurred were it not for the laxity of Belgian security measures. He demanded a full ministerial report on the hijacking. A spokesman for the Pilots and Navigators Association disclosed at a press conference here Friday that Brussels Airport had received numerous warnings about its lack of security precautions. He said a study made in 1970 called it one of the least secure airports in the world.

The spokesman said Belgian pilots would refuse to take off from Brussels or from foreign airports unless five basic precautions were taken. These were: identification of passengers’ baggage at the foot of the plane before take-off; verification by the navigating engineer that the hold is empty before baggage is loaded; closing the hold in the engineer’s presence after all baggage has been loaded; no opening of the hold without the authorization of a crew member; and a complete search of all passengers, male and female, before boarding the plane.

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