BA may introduce armed marshals

War against terrorism: Airline security
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The Independent Online

British Airways could give pilots stun guns and introduce armed sky marshals on its flights in response to the 11 September terrorist attacks.

These are two options being considered by the airline to prevent attacks. It has also drastically reduced fares to tempt back customers.

Before seeking approval from the Government and regulating bodies, BA is trying to determine if the moves would be practical and increase safety. The company said in this week's issue of its in-house magazine: "Options being debated by the aviation industry worldwide are placing sky marshals in the cabin and arming pilots with 'Taser' stun guns."

Similar plans have been announced in America and a number of airlines have already put marshals on planes, Austrian Airlines being the most recent example.

A spokesman for BA said: "We're trying to raise consumer confidence ... A range of security measures has been discussed quite widely in all sectors. It is quite right that [we] engage in that debate. Staff have been asking where the board are on security measures so we've outlined them in our staff newspaper, which is a public document as well."

The installation of CCTV is also under consideration.

BA launched a "Kids fly free to Europe" promotion yesterday as part of a campaign to boost business. One child can travel free with each adult ticket to BA's European destinations until 30 March.

* United Airlines, which operates 13 flights a day from Britain to the United States, launched an advertising drive yesterday aimed at restoring customer confidence in safety and security. It appeals to passengers for their "patience and understanding as we all adjust to the new realities of air travel".