London: Britain’s foreign minister on Sunday said the government would push for higher security at foreign airports in risky areas even if it meant extra delays for passengers.
Britain suspended flights to Sharm el-Sheikh after saying it feared a bomb may have brought down a Russian jet shortly after it took off from the Red Sea resort last week, killing 224 people, and that security at the airport was lax.
“What we’ve got to do is ensure that… Airport security reflects local conditions,” Philip Hammond told the BBC on Sunday.
“Where there’s a local higher threat, that will mean higher levels of security are required and that may mean additional costs and may mean additional delays at airports.”
Efforts will be focussed on areas where Islamic State (IS) militants are known to operate if news reports are confirmed that they were behind the crash.
“If this turns out to be a device planted by an IS operative, or by somebody inspired by IS, then clearly we will have to look again at the level of security we expect to see in airports in areas where IS is active,” Hammond said.
The decision to suspend flights with immediate effect came after a team of British security experts made an initial security assessment in Sharm el-Sheikh, but the government has yet to identify IS as the perpetrators.
Around 3,300 of the estimated Britons in Sharm el-Sheikh have been brought home on jets laid on by airlines in conjunction with the government, and a further 1,700 are expected home Sunday, according to Hammond.
“The ambassador is telling me that the mood in Sharm is generally calm, people understand what is going on,” he told the BBC.
“Many people will want to stay and complete their holiday,” he added. “At most people will experience a delay of two or three days.