BA head questions airport security

Martin Broughton says we shouldn't "kowtow" to US demands as certain checks are "completely redundan

Britain should stop "kowtowing" to US demands over airport security, according to the chairman of British Airways.

Martin Broughton said that practices such as forcing passengers to take off their shoes were "completely redundant". He also questioned rules over scanning laptops separately.

Speaking at a conference of airport operators, he also criticised the US for imposing these checks on US-bound flights, but failing to enforce them on their own internal flights.

The US stepped up security in January after an alleged bomb plot, introducing tougher checks for passengers arriving from 14 nations deemed to be a security threat. Passengers from any foreign country can also be checked at random.

Broughton is quoted by the Financial Times as saying that we need not "kowtow to the Americans every time they wanted something done".

He said: "America does not do internally a lot of the things they demand that we do. We shouldn't stand for that. We should say 'we'll only do things which we consider to be essential and that you Americans also consider essential'."

While he noted that no-one wants weak security, he added: "We all know there's quite a number of elements in the security programme which are completely redundant and they should be sorted out."

The Department for Transport said that no changes to security rules were currently planned.