UK announces more air cargo security measures

LONDON—Britain on Thursday began requiring tighter screenings for some air cargo passing through the U.K. because of the recent mail bomb plot, an official said.

Cargo originating from some cities in India, Qatar, Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Thailand, the Maldives, Sudan and Libya will have to be re-screened after arriving in Britain before being loaded onto onward flights, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said.

Currently such flights do not need to be screened in the U.K.

Hammond spoke to reporters after meeting with representatives from the aviation and freight industries.

He said they also discussed a proposed system of grading countries sending air cargo to the U.K. according to perceived risk.

For example, countries that have screening measures matching those of the U.K. and the European Union could have easier access to the U.K. than those that don’t.

No details were set, but the proposal will be discussed during a meeting later this month by Britain’s National Security Council.

The government announced last week it is banning all air cargo from Somalia and Yemen after a mail bomb bound for Chicago from Yemen was found on a cargo plane in England.

Authorities on both sides of the Atlantic said that bomb and another one found in the United Arab Emirates were made and sent by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a terrorist group based in Yemen. The bombs were wired to cell phones and hidden in cartridges of computer printers.

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