Australia bolsters security checks for flights from Middle East

Passengers waiting to board their flights at the Sydney International Airport.
Passengers waiting to board their flights at the Sydney International Airport.PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Australia will conduct additional security checks on passengers flying directly from Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East to prevent security threats.

The new rules follow similar measures introduced by Britain and the United States, but do not include the same bans on electronic devices in the cabins of passenger flights.

"In response to national security advice the Federal Government has made precautionary changes and instructed airlines to implement new protocols from next week," Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester said in a statement on Friday (March 31).

"Explosive detection screening will be conducted for randomly selected passengers and their baggage. Checks may also include targeted screening of electronic devices."

The increased security measures will affect passengers flying direct to Australia from Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Affected airlines are Qantas and Gulf carriers Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways.