Travellers at Port Macquarie Airport on August 2 have given unequivocal support to the decision to beef up security.
The increased measures were put in place after authorities foiled an alleged plot to blow up a flight bound from Sydney to the Middle East. Four men were taken into custody in a series of arrests across Sydney on July 29.
The beefed up measures have seen long queues waiting for security screenings and ticketing, particularly at metropolitan airports.
Laurieton’s Peter and Margaret Sonter were awaiting a flight to Sydney and were philosophical about the extra time they had factored into their travel.
“We feel a bit resentful that, because of a few idiots, we have to change our lives,” the couple said.
“But if that’s what we have to do, then we don’t mind the extra wait.
“There is no real issue (of extra waiting time) when it is for your own security.”
The couple said they will be allowing about three and a half hours time to navigate through Sydney airport security for a connecting flight.
Port Macquarie’s Joanne Ayres says she was quite happy for the extra time involved in increasing security ‘if it means that I am safe’.
“I’m in absolute favour of the increased security measures. If there is heaps of security in and around Sydney (airport) then I think that’s a good thing.
“I’ve been receiving emails and updates from the airline. I think this is a good thing.”
Mrs Ayres said she would arrive about three and a quarter hours before her connecting flight departs Sydney.
I’m in absolute favour of the increased security measures. If there is heaps of security in and around Sydney (airport) then I think that’s a good thing.Traveller Joanne Ayres
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s director of corporate performance Rebecca Olsen said Port Macquarie Airport is a security controlled airport with stringent and robust aviation security controls in place in accordance with Australian Government regulations.
“We are aware that recent threats to aviation security at Sydney Airport have resulted in the Office of Transport Security issuing increased security arrangements at major airports across Australia, however at this stage they have not issued a heightened security alert for Port Macquarie Airport,” she said.
“This being said, all personnel at Port Macquarie Airport remain vigilant and attentive to ensuring the safe and secure operation of the airport.”
Passengers travelling from Port Macquarie Airport should contact the airlines as to whether additional check-in time is required, the director said.
Federal MP Luke Hartsuyker said security at all airports is continually under review and he supports the decision to implement additional screenings.
“As I understand, this alleged plot to blow up a flight from Sydney to the Middle East was uncovered by the great work of security services both in Australia and overseas,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“And this highlights the need for everyone to be on guard. While I can accept that the greatest perceived threat will be at metropolitan airports, there are some adjustments required at regional airports, such as Port Macquarie.
“Quite clearly the additional security screenings put in place will be an imposition but I believe that people are very mindful of the need to keep all Australians safe.”
The Port News contacted SNP Security who are contracted to provide security services at Port Macquarie Airport for comment.