LONDON - Airline passengers bound for the United States faced a hodgepodge of security measures across the world yesterday, but most European airports did not appear to be following a new US demand for increased screening of passengers from 14 countries.
US officials in Washington said the new security measures would be implemented yesterday but there were few visible changes on the ground in Europe, which sends thousands of passengers on hundreds of daily flights to the United States.
(...) The new rules led to long security lines in Nigeria at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, where some travelers were told to show up more than seven hours ahead of their
(...) Asian airports had already ratcheted up security after the Christmas Day attack, but those in South Korea and Pakistan took additional measures.
Yet Europe remains the key crossroads for air travelers heading to the United States, with more than 800 scheduled trans-Atlantic flights a day in 2009, especially from major hubs like London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt.
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport was using 15 full-body scanners on flights to the United States and Dutch officials announced yesterday they will buy 60 more scanners. In Oslo, US-bound passengers had to show their passports and boarding passes twice at the gate, get their carry-ons searched and go through full body pat-downs.
Yet other European nations were still studying the new US rules. In Britain, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation said he was still trying to decipher its practical implications. He would not give his name due to the sensitivity of the subject. His comments were echoed by officials in Germany, France, and Switzerland, who said no new measures had been taken since airport security was increased after the failed Detroit plot.
French airport officials said the changes will not be implemented until they are ordered by the French government. In Spain, US-bound passengers from countries on the new watch list were not being singled out for body frisks, a security official admitted, speaking on condition on anonymity in line with agency rules.
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