Brussels attacks: Airport security beefed up across the world

Even as Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday blamed Europe's porous borders and lax security for the the bomb attacks that killed at least 31 people in Brussels on Tuesday, security was tightned at airports across the world, with South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and India saying that they were deploying additional resources at the major hubs .

Incheon airport, which serves Seoul, will add around 700 more staff for security monitoring and explosive detection, the operator Incheon International Airport Corp said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday. It will closely check identifications of passengers entering the transit area as well as those who work in the restricted area. Authorities will now closely check areas such as restrooms and trash cans and will also step up screening of passengers' carry-on items, checked-in bags and cargo.

Read more from our special coverage on "BRUSSELS AIRPORT ATTACK"

Narita Airport, east of Tokyo has also strengthened patrol of any suspicious objects, said Tsuyoshi Ohtake, a spokesman at Narita International Airport Corp. Asian airports had stepped up scrutiny since the Paris terrorist attacks and a suspected bombing of a Russian aircraft by the Islamic State last year. Much of the security checks at aerodromes have been focused on stopping terrorists from boarding planes, with measures such as full-body scans, shoe checks and ban on everything from liquids to nail clippers.

Indonesia upgraded security at its 192 airports in February, weeks after a deadly bombing and shooting assault by Islamic State militants in downtown Jakarta. A bomb went off in central Bangkok in August last year that killed 20 people. The airport authority in Hong Kong has established strict security measures and will keep close contact with government security agencies, according to an e-mailed response to Bloomberg News. If needed, the airport will take additional steps, it said.

Airport security has been heightened across Australia in the wake of the Brussels attacks, the Australian Federal Police said in an e-mailed statement. Measures may include dog and foot patrols, as well as specialist armed-response teams, the police said. All the country's airports have been asked to carry out response plans to armed attack, Minister for Transport Darren Chester said in an e-mailed statement. Still, he said there's currently "no credible threat" to Australian airports. Police presence at Haneda airport's domestic terminals have also been increased, Shoko Ono, a spokeswoman at Japan Airport Terminal Co, the operator of the terminals, said on Wednesday by telephone.

In the US, the country's largest cities were placed on high alert and the National Guard was called in to increase security at New York City's two airports, although Obama administration officials say there is no specific or credible intelligence of a copycat attack in the country. "At present, we have no specific, credible intelligence of any plot to conduct similar attacks here in the US," the US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said.

"That said, we remain very focused on the threat posed by lone terrorist actors who may lack direct connection to a foreign terrorist organisation; we are concerned that such radicalised individuals or small groups could carry out an attack in the Homeland with little warning," he said in a statement.

Companies are also taking steps to ensure the safety of its staff. Toyota Motor Corp has banned employee business trips to Belgium until they can be certain there are no threats, said Itsuki Kurosu, a spokesman for the automaker. The company has its European headquarters in the Belgian capital. Tire maker Bridgestone Corp said employees can't make business trips to Brussels.

SAFETY STEPS

  • Incheon airport will add around 700 more staff

     
  • Indonesia upgraded security at its 192 airports in February

     
  • In Australia, dog and foot patrols, and specialist armed-response teams will be introduced

     
  • National Guard has been called in to increase security at New York City's two airports

     
  • In India, some of the bags that the passengers bring into the terminals are being checked

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