New security checks would add to cost of holidays, say airlines

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The Independent Online

Airlines and travel agents have reacted angrily to Government proposals to make them carry out extra security checks on travellers.

Airlines and travel agents have reacted angrily to Government proposals to make them carry out extra security checks on travellers.

Tour operators will have to shoulder the expense of the new anti-terrorist measures and the costs are likely to add to the price of holidays abroad.

Leading travel firms have said they are "upset" by the proposals which they say could add an hour to check-in times if personal details were check-ed at that point. The new measures would place extra burdens on an industry already struggling to recover after the 11 September attacks. "We are being lumbered with something that will cost a tremendous amount to bring in and we fear holidays will have to rise in price," said a spokeswoman for Thomson Holidays, Britain's biggest tour operator.

The change in procedure follows an amendment made to the Terrorism Act 2000 last year. Details of the new requirement were given to tour operators yesterday and will be pushed through parliament next week. Travel companies will have to collect data on all those who book a holiday, including their date and place of birth, gender, nationality and passport number. Travel companies may be asked to pass the data on to police trying to locate terrorists, drug smugglers and other serious criminals

The Thomson spokeswoman added: "The information they are asking will be impossible to gather at an airport without travel grinding to a halt, so it will have to be done at travel agents or any other point at which people make a booking."

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