Hijack threat assessment low in NZ

The aviation hijack threat in New Zealand is relatively low the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) said today.

The assessment was made after a passenger apparently attacked two pilots and threatened to blow up an Air New Zealand flight.

"The official assessment is low - low threat," ALPA spokesman Paul Lyons said.

"The airlines are very good at keeping crews informed. We need to know what the levels of threat are so we can take appropriate action.

"Our concern of course is the welfare of the pilots and passengers."

He said ALPA was happy with airline security, but there would be flaws from time to time.

"Obviously there is a hole here somehow...but a detailed assessment will be carried out with the facts as they emerge and appropriate action will be taken.

"We have a high confidence in the Aviation Security Service that they will take appropriate action if action needs to be taken."

In a small aircraft where it was difficult to isolate the pilots and aircrew from the passengers "it comes down to the responsibility of the passengers, I guess".

"But our focus has always been as strong as possible security presence on the ground but that assessment has to be made by the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation Authority.

"There are a number of Government agencies involved and if we ever have any concerns we immediately communicate those concerns to the authorities we talk about how best to mitigate the dangers," he said.

- NZPA

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