Emirates Airline has started a review of security measures at airports throughout the Middle East, Western Asia and Africa as a consequence of the Oct. 31 crash of a Metrojet Airbus A321 in Egypt.
The crash, possibly caused by a bomb explosion, was a “game changer in our industry,” Emirates Airline president Tim Clark believes. The consequences will have to be “addressed on an industry level, but it is not in the hands of the airlines.”
The internal Emirates review focuses on ground handling procedures and access to aircraft at various airports. “We have to satisfy ourselves that whatever can be done [to prevent security breaches] is done,” Clark added.
Emirates has decided to avoid flying over most of Sinai for security reasons, but does not completely avoid the airspace particularly for its Cairo operations. The airline has not made any changes to its Egypt capacity as the country is “an enormously important market for us,” Clark said, speaking on the sidelines of the Dubai Air Show this week.
Emirates is also avoiding Iraqi and Syrian airspace for security reasons. That adds seven to eight minutes of flying time on westbound services into Europe.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, also at the air show, noted, “We cannot relax, but there is only so much we can do.” He pointed to the “many layers” of screening at airports, “sophisticated detection and robust security. Our job is always to be vigilant,” he said.