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Ten Swedish airports get new bomb technology

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Ten Swedish airports get new bomb technology
Arlanda Airport in Stockholm. Photo: TT
08:42 CET+01:00
A new method of checking for explosives is being introduced at check-in queues at Swedish airports this month as the Nordic nation implements updated EU regulations on security.
Random checks are being carried out on passengers’ hand baggage as part of efforts to improve security screening. The process uses an explosive trace detector (ETD), a small cloth that can be wiped across both bags and clothing.
 
The cloth takes a sample which can then quickly be analysed by a nearby computer designed to trace explosives.
 
All ten airports run by Swedavia, the state-owned group that owns, operates and develops airports across Sweden are adopting the strategy this month.
 
It follows new EU rules on airport safety and complies with related regulations issued by the Swedish Transport Agency, the oversight authority for security matters at Sweden’s airports.
 
"The technique is so sensitive that even the slightest traces of explosives can be detected”, Anders Lennermark, security manager for Swedavia told Swedish broadcaster SVT on Friday.

A total of 33.5 million passengers flew via Swedavia’s airports in 2013 and it is hoped that the new measures will help keep travellers safe, especially in the wake of recent terror attacks in Paris and Copenhagen.

ETD checks are already carried out at airports in both the UK and the US.
 
Earlier this month, a government inquiry proposed that Sweden should also beef up its border security by introducing fingerprint scans for all nationalities entering Sweden from outside the passport-free Schengen Area. The move pre-empts an anticipated decision by the European Union which is considering whether to make such screenings mandatory.
 
But there has also been recent criticism of other security measures at Swedish airports.
 
The Scandinavian country has been in the spotlight for failing to introduce a digital database to help airlines share passenger lists with police, despite EU regulations dating back to 2004, which call for the automatic transfer of customer information.
 
Under Swedish law, police can ask airlines to provide access to passenger lists in advance of flights taking off, but this information has to be faxed over or collected from airline offices in person, whereas in most major EU nations it can be automatically passed on via secure digital databases set up following a 2004 EU directive.
 
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