Following discussions with Fiji aviation unions earlier today, visiting Australian Transport Workers Union NSW State Secretary Tony Sheldon is calling for an urgent upgrade of Fiji’s aviation security.
“Since January 2003, there have been 6 serious security breaches at Sydney’s International Kingsford Smith Airport, including the discovery of a bomb device just prior to Christmas last year,” Mr Sheldon said today.
“Most of the check in luggage and almost 100% of the freight on both domestic and international flights into and out of Australia is being allowed to travel unchecked and unscreened.”
“Earlier, today following meetings with Fiji Airport unions at Nadi Airport, I have discovered aviation security arrangements in Fiji are similarly sub-standard.”
“Union representatives have confirmed 100% of all outbound luggage on Air Pacific Flights, including fire arms, traveling into most major Australian Airports are being allowed onto aircraft unchecked and unscreened.”
“Fiji Airport workers at Air Pacific have not been provided with appropriate anti terrorist security training. Nor have appropriate security training practices and procedures been implemented to respond to the new international security environment.”
“With the risk of terrorism a very real threat to the aviation industry in our region, and a direct threat to the health and safe of our members at Australian airports and the Australian public, this inadequate response in just not good enough.”
“Airport workers both in Australia and Fiji are demanding that their safety and security concerns be taken seriously.”
“With Australia’s major Airline – Qantas – effectively a half owner (46%) of Air Pacific, this is a significant interest to the 5000 TWU members at Qantas.”
“I will be taking these issues up on my return with both Qantas, the Australian Federal Government and Airport authorities seeking immediate improvements in Australian – Fiji aviation security,” Mr Sheldon said