Security at Spanish airports has come under scrutiny from the ALA, Asociación de Líneas Aéreas (Association of Airlines) which is concerned that price is more of a prerogative than efficiency and is calling for the Guardia Civil to be more involved. Last year the Spanish airport and air traffic control body AENA decided to replace many of the Guardia Civil with private security officers. ALA said yesterday that the Guardia Civil should be involved in the process of selecting and hiring private outfits. The association agrees that private security companies are needed at Spanish airports, but companies should be selected on the grounds of their ability and performance “as opposed to price.” “If a company is unable to motivate its employees with correct wage structures, bonuses and sound organisation, all that is a achieved is a rotation of intolerable staff, as is the case at some airports, which is a clear detriment to the image projected to passengers who are the ones paying the extra security taxes,” Pablo Olmeda Cruz, the ALA chairman said. Olmeda believes that the hiring of private security companies should be overseen by the Guardia Civil and not just Aena. He said that the idea of using the combined forces of the Guardia Civil and private security companies, due to a lack of Guardia Civil resources, was to improve and tighten security. ALA has complained to the government and Aena about the lack of sufficient security guards on patrol at certain airports, especially where sharp increases in passengers have not been compensated with an increase in Guardia Civil officers on duty. The Spanish airport authority has recently unveiled a multi-million peseta plan to replace many of the airport x-ray scanning machines with the very latest technology, but the airlines want to see improvements in airport security taken further. Pilots' associations would rather see security tightened on the ground at airports as opposed to planes being turned in to “flying fortresses.” Airlines and pilots believe that the key to preventing terrorist activities on board flights is to stop terrorists before they board the plane. Spanish airlines are expected to shortly start examining possible alcohol bans or restrictions on board flights, following the lead some of the UK's airlines are considering to take over the next few months to stamp out air rage.

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