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IATA reluctant about US demands for guns onboard foreign planes

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reacted cautiously to US demands that foreign airlines put armed guards on planes to meet terrorist threats, and said if the measure was obligatory governments must pay. “Our basic stance is that we do not want guns onboard the aircraft, we certainly don’t want the cockpit to be armed,” IATA spokesman Anthony Concil said Tuesday. “If there are marshalls onboard the aircraft we ask that the captain be informed … and we also believe that the governments need to pay for that … the governments that are requiring it,” he told AFP. On Monday, US Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge issued an emergency directive that foreign airlines put armed police on flights where US officials deemed there was a terrorist threat. The announcement came eight days after US officials heightened a nationwide attack alert, citing intelligence that Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network wanted to stage an even bigger strike than the September 11, 2001 attacks which killed 3,000 people. Full Story

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