A secret exercise conducted by the airport security directorate at police headquarters on March 9 exposed security gaps at Larnaca airport, leaving officials exposed. According to a report in POLITIS newspaper, the exercise saw individuals participating as "passengers" successfully pass through airport security with a dummy explosive device and prohibited dangerous materials, such as knives, without being detected.
The director of the airport security directorate at the police headquarters, without informing the Civil Aviation Department and the airport's managing company, was able to pass the dummy explosive device through the airport checkpoint where passengers traveling through the airport also pass, without being noticed by anyone.
The incident alarmed the Civil Aviation Department as well as the managing company, and the relevant ministers of transport and justice were also informed, who instructed immediate action to be taken to ensure airport security. A senior source confirmed the incident, and the police, along with the relevant ministries, have proceeded to take additional security measures and tightened controls at airports to prevent a repeat of a similar incident.
The exercise took place on March 9 from 08:00 in the morning until 11:00, in order to test the preparedness and observance of the members of the private company in charge of control duties. The exercise took place after the police passport control for exit from the country, where private company officers carry out a physical check as a complementary check in case of a warning signal.
In response to the report, Hermes Airports' Senior Director, Maria Kouroupi, stated that the allegations have not been confirmed and they are currently examining the situation with the Civil Aviation Authority. He assured the public that aviation security checks at the airports are conducted based on specific protocols, which are approved by both the competent authority and the EU.
[With information from Kathimerini.com.cy]