Spanish airlines are already flying with security guards on board key domestic and international flights. Air Europa's Air Security Chief, José A. Salazar, told delegates at the European airport planning, management and security conference in Palma yesterday that security guards are flying on key flights and that the airline is installing the necessary equipment so that all baggage can be x-rayed as quickly as possible. José A. Salazar detailed a few of the new security measures the airline has introduced and passengers are being questioned about their luggage when they check-in. Questions which for years have been routine in the United Kingdom, such as who packed the suitcase, if a package is being carried on behalf of someone else etc, are now becoming standard in Spain. Salazar stressed that while the airlines are getting on with tightening up security, Spanish airport and air traffic control authority, AENA, needs to “hurry up” the process of scanning passengers at all airports and look at the examples set by airports in the United Kingdom and even the United States. Air Europa is also carrying out exhaustive inspections of all its planes, once the cleaning staff have left the aircraft, before every flight. But the Air Europa security boss was not prepared to go in to great detail about the airline's new security measures. Increased airport security, he said, is a matter for the police and the government. But, Salazar does not consider it fair that the government plans to increase airport taxes in order to raise the extra funding to cover the costs of improving security measures. “The airlines are going through a critical period and already have to meet their own security costs, hiking airport taxes will only add to the problems,” he said. Yesterday was the final day of the Regional Airport Conference (ARC) annual conference and ARC President, Bob Verburg, said that a series of security proposals have been drawn up in Palma and will be presented to the European Commission. ARC will also be presenting the European Union with a report on current airport security levels.

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