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Security expert says protecting airport perimeter harder than protecting terminals

13.01.08

Protecting airport perimeters is more difficult than protecting terminals, a security expert discussing the impact of the incident at Glasgow Airport during the summer said at a recent airports conference.

Janes security magazine reports that Robert van den Bergh, head of security at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, told the recent ACI Europe Airport Exchange in Madrid that one of his first moves after hearing of the Glasgow incident was to look at ways to channel traffic away from terminal buildings.

Measures introduced at the airport to protect the terminal since the attack include bollards installed to prevent unauthorised vehicles that do get through checkpoints from building up speed. These included huge concrete flower boxes, which had the advantage of 'looking very friendly, but also protecting the terminal', he said. Smart cameras are also being tested to check on the registration plates of all cars arriving at the airport - a system that is directly linked to a police database.

The main worry, however, is safeguarding against the possibility of an attack through the perimeter fence, which at Schiphol is 55 km long, Mr. van den Bergh told the delegates. He said that there are regular patrols, but 'you can't control the whole perimeter. You can't be there all the time.'

Another early move at Schiphol in the wake of the Glasgow Airport incident was to close an executive airport parking area under one of its terminals. This is to be rebuilt in another location, as airports place great emphasis on security concerns ahead of a previous focus on passenger convenience.

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