Etihad working with AFP over alleged terror plot

There are calls for stronger security presence in regional and domestic airports, following a thwarted alleged terror plot to bring down a commercial airliner.

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Abu Dhabi-based Etihad has not confirmed the alleged plot was targeting one of their flights, but has said that it is working with Australian police.

“The Etihad Airways aviation security team is assisting the Australian Federal Police with its investigation and the matter is ongoing,” the airline said in a statement. 

“Etihad is complying fully with the enhanced security measures at airports in Australia and monitoring the situation closely.”

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The Trade Workers Union believes less stringent security measures at regional airports are posing a major risk.

“They are still failing to come and to engage, and say ‘who is responsible’ for some airport breaches that are happening at our airports,” TWU Secretary Tony Sheldon told reporters in Sydney.

0:00 ‘We have to be more prudent’: AirAsia CEO on security measures Share ‘We have to be more prudent’: AirAsia CEO on security measures

“There is high staff turnover, lack of training, poor conditions, and no whistleblower protections.”

AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Ismail has told SBS World News that aviation safety rests on the shoulders of each airport.

“Everybody is concerned about attacks, but we just have to make sure we work together with airports to make sure that all these [security] processes are seamless,” Mr Ismail said.

At a Parliamentary inquiry into Australian border security, the newly-founded Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) said there remains an “unprecedented risk” to national security.

“In terms of the aviation and maritime sectors: they are highly vulnerable to serious and organised crime exploitation,” said ACIC deputy Paul Williams.

“They are a key link to the international illicit economy. They can facilitate the importation of illicit goods into Australia.”

Sydney father and son Khaled and Mahmoud Khayat, and Khaled and Abdul Merhi, remain behind bars without charge after being arrested on Saturday during raids across Sydney.

It is believed the alleged terror plot to bring down an Australian plane was “fairly well along” when authorities moved in, according to a Reuters report citing two US officials familiar with the case. 

Police have already obtained a court order to hold and question the four men for seven days, as investigators strengthen their case to lay charges.

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