By Andy Sambidge
US authorities announce new measures following attempted Christmas Day bombing.
Air travellers from 14 countries, including Saudi Arabia, will be subjected to extra security checks and advanced screening of baggage before boarding airliners bound for the US, it was reported on Tuesday.
The procedures, announced by the US Transport Security Administration (TSA), came into effect on Monday following the attempted bombing on Christmas Day of a US-bound aircraft.
Full details of the new security procedures will be published on the US Embassy website, said an embassy spokesman in Riyadh in comments published by Arab News on Tuesday.
The new security arrangement will ensure that all passengers travelling to and from the 14 countries will be patted down and their carry-on luggage searched.
They may undergo advanced explosives detection or imaging scans, the paper reported.
Passengers travelling from or through nations listed as “state sponsors of terrorism” — Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria — as well as Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen will face the extra screening.
Nasser Al-Tayyar, chief of the Al-Tayyar Travel Group, told the paper: “I don’t support the new security check system. It will reduce air traffic between the US and Saudi Arabia. The new measures will create more difficulties for travelers to and from the kingdom.”
There were 25 million visitors to the US in 2008 from Europe and Asia, according to IATA figures.