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Air Canada Probe Ordered After Security Breach

Canadian transportation minister orders probe into airline following YouTube video outlining a security breach.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/4/2010, 5:07 AM / Last Update: 8/4/2010, 5:04 AM

Canada's Minister of Transportation John Baird has announced that a probe has been ordered, after a video posted on YouTube showed Muslim women boarding an Air Canada airplane without showing their faces.

Shalom Life first reported on the video several weeks ago. The video was posted to YouTube on July 13 and was shot by a British traveller on July 11 in Montreal’s airport. It shows passengers boarding the aircraft which took them from Montreal to London’s Heathrow Airport. As the passengers walk past Air Canada’s check-in staff, a woman whose face is covered is shown walking onto the aircraft without presenting any identification as required. Behind her another man presents check in staff with all the passports belonging to the entire family. The video then shows two Muslim girls walk through without being checked for identification, followed by yet another face covered woman who goes through without being asked for identification or to show her face.

The user who posted the clip mentioned that a complaint was placed with Air Canada staff, both at the check-in gate as well as with the flight staff, but added that the individuals in question “didn’t get recalled for ID.”

Air Canada’s Media Relations Department said in response to a query by Shalom Life on the video: “Passenger security screening is the responsibility of CATSA, a federal government agency that performs passenger screening at Canadian airports. Airline passengers undergo multiple security checks before arriving at the boarding gate. For our part, a final check is made at the gate prior to boarding in order to confirm passengers getting on the flight. We comply with Transport Canada regulations requiring passengers to present government-issued photo ID before boarding. In addition, we have special procedures in place, and our agents are trained to verify photo ID in a private area away from other passengers, as required for religious or medical reasons.”

Canada’s Transportation Ministry is now saying that it wants to ensure that airline personnel are indeed verifying the identity of all of passengers prior to boarding a flight. In a statement released on Sunday, Minister Baird said: “If the reports are true, the situation is deeply disturbing and poses a serious threat to the security of the air travelling public. If our current security policies in this area are deemed to be lacking, our government will take the necessary steps to protect the safety and security of the travelling public.”

(Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life)