50 SKY SHADES - World aviation news

Belgian transportation minister resigns amid criticism about airport security

Download: Printable PDF Date: 16 Apr 2016 04:55 category:
Publisher:
Belgian transportation minister resigns amid criticism about airport security - Personalities publisher
Tatjana Obrazcova
Country: Belgium
Source: LA Times

Belgium’s transportation minister resigned Friday in the wake of revelations that she failed to act on a secret report that had warned of inadequate security measures at Brussels Airport a year before last month’s suicide bombings there.

The report, prepared by European Union airport security inspectors last April, found serious deficiencies in the way surveillance, passenger and luggage screening and other safety checks were conducted at airports across Belgium.

Belgium opposition parties leaked it to the media this week, intensifying criticism that the country has done too little to prevent terrorism.

The transportation minister, Jacqueline Galant, at first said she had not seen the report and claimed she was being made a victim of a “media crusade.”

But at a news conference Friday, Prime Minister Charles Michel contradicted her.

“A summary of the report had been discussed and sent to the minister’s Cabinet in June 2015,” he said. “I cannot accept that Parliament was not made aware of this important point yesterday.” He announced Galant's resignation at the same news conference.

A total of 16 people died on March 22 at the airport, where Islamic State militants detonated two bombs in a departure area. In a coordinated attack, another suicide bomber struck a Brussels subway station shortly afterward during morning rush hour, killing another 16.

The political fallout was immediate.

One key suspect, Mohamed Abrini, had been on wanted lists since the November attack in Paris and was living in Belgium, forcing authorities to explain why he had not been detained.

The interior and justice ministers offered to resign, but the prime minister asked them to stay on.

At the news conference, he said his government was determined to learn from its mistakes: “The security of all Belgians is a priority for this government.”

Parliament is now investigating security shortcomings.

The bombings, coming after the Paris attack that killed 130 people, have put all of Europe on high alert.

In Britain on Friday, police in Birmingham arrested three men — ages 26, 40 and 59  — and a 29-year-old woman who security sources said were connected to both attacks. Another suspect, a 26-year-old man, was arrested at London’s Gatwick Airport.

Authorities said the suspects were being questioned by counter-terrorism detectives.

British media also reported that Abrini had been in Birmingham last year and took pictures of a soccer stadium.

He was arrested last week near Brussels, where authorities said he confessed to being the mysterious “man in the hat” who could be seen in surveillance footage walking with the two suicide bombers shortly before the explosions.



Loading comments for Belgian transportation minister resigns amid criticism about airport security...


Recommended

STC for IS&S ThrustSense Autothrottle System for Beechcraft King Air 300 series

Innovative Solutions & Support has been awarded FAA Supplemental Type Certification for its groundbreaking ThrustSense® Autothrottle system for the Beechcraft King Air 300 series turboprops eq...

Airbus Orders & Deliveries July 2020

Airbus 2020 gross orders by July 31st totalled 369 aircraft with net orders, after cancellations, of 302 aircraft. The Company registered four new orders in July 2020. During the month, 49&nbs...

BelugaXL enters into service in Getafe

The BelugaXL recently expanded its operational reach by adding Airbus’ facility in Getafe, Spain to its network. This aircraft “no.2” – the second to fly – is working alo...

Preparing the way for return to global operations - Airbus Flight Training COVID taskforce

Airbus Flight Training dedicated COVID taskforce is proactively implementing measures to guide its customers and stakeholders through the crisis and to prepare them for the resumption of normal o...