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September 4, 2009

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Slower pace at airport security

TRAVELERS flying out of Shanghai may want to get to the airport a little earlier as security is being beefed up against possible terrorist threats during celebrations surrounding the 60th anniversary of the founding of New China.
Security checks have already been enhanced at the city's two airports and will remain in effect at least through the National Day holiday period, which runs from October 1 to 8, according to the Civil Aviation Administration Bureau of East China.
More passengers will be stopped at security checkpoints and asked to open their carry-on luggage, remove shoes, or submit to body searchers if X-ray scans aren't conclusive. Not everyone will have to open their bags, however, in an effort to prevent major backups during the peak travel period.
"We must strike a balance between the safety and efficiency of the whole operation," said Qin Gang, an official with the regional aviation authority. Airport security staff will also use a special test paper to detect whether passengers are carrying explosives, flammable substances or prohibited chemicals in their bags. Security staff will rub the test papers on travelers or their luggage and be able to tell immediately whether recent contact with prohibited items has occurred.
The same test measures were used while the Beijing Olympic Games were under way last year. But unlike that period, the checks will not be made before passengers enter the terminal but only at security checkpoints inside.
The aviation administration also asked the local airport authority to give checked luggage a more thorough inspection.
Travelers were also reminded that they are allowed only one piece of carry-on luggage.
Aviation authority and airline company officials advised travelers to arrive at the airport earlier than usual because the security checks may take more time, but they did not specify how much leeway to allow.
The previous rule of thumb was that passengers for domestic flights should arrive at least an hour early and international travelers should be there two hours early.


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