Five months ago, a “mistery passenger” was able to pass through the security checkpoint at Brussels Airport with a counterfeit bomb belt around his waist, newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws writes. “The incident was reported to Federal Minister of Mobility François Bellot, but we are still waiting for improved measures,” a union member told the daily newspaper. The incident is very worrying as only three years ago the airport was hit by terror attacks.
“On 1 October last year, I was asked to try to pass the security checkpoint with a fake bomb belt“, the mystery passenger explains (*), “the belt looked very credible, with wires, a detonator and a substance that had the same density as real explosives. I wore it with an elastic velcro around my waist. When I was being searched, I pretended to be a foreign passenger who did not speak Dutch. I gestured that I had a back injury and showed that I wore a kind of armor. To my great surprise, I was allowed to continue.” Worse: “On the same day, I also circumvented the security twice by showing a fake badge and I could smuggle a knife without being noticed.”
The security checks are the responsibility of G4S. The private company employs 850 to 900 people at the airport to guarantee the safety of the terminals and to screen the passengers. The applied procedures are regularly checked by the Belgian Civil Aviation Authority, which uses, among other things, mystery passengers. “We aim for a ‘unmasking percentage’ of 70%, but that goal is seldom achieved.”
“Our services have done months of research, but have not found any trace or evidence of such a possible incident,” says Sven Heyndrickx, spokesman for the FPS Mobility.
(*) the mistery passenger has a duty of confidentiality and therefore testifies anonymously