Moscow Airport Unveils New Security Measures

Domodedovo airport showcases new measures one year after plane explosions


MOSCOW (AP) - Moscow's Domodedovo airport has introduced a series of new security measures since last August, when suicide bombers blew up two passenger jets shortly after takeoff and killed all 90 people on board, the airport operator said Monday.

There are now X-ray machines that can determine whether passengers are carrying dangerous or forbidden materials, such as drugs or explosives, hidden inside their bodies, said Dmitry Kamenshchik, chairman of Domodedovo's operator East Line Group.

The airport also now uses gas sensors that can reveal minuscule traces of explosives on a passenger's body or clothing, said East Line spokeswoman Anna Krasnova. The X-ray machines and gas sensors are used only on passengers judged suspect, she said.

Kamenshchik said it was impossible to guarantee that the new security measures will prevent further terrorist attacks, but said the new devices are meant to minimize the risk.

"We are confident that we are moving in the right direction," he said.

The suicide bombings Aug. 24, 2004, which authorities said were carried out by women who boarded the planes at Domodedovo, were the first of a series of terrorist attacks in Russia late last summer that culminated in the hostage seizure at a school in the southern town of Beslan in which more than 330 adults and children were killed.

Domodedovo - one of Moscow three major airports - first installed gas sensors right after the bombings, but recently switched to a newer type that can scan for a greater number of explosives and also drugs, Krasnova said.

The devices have enabled airport officials to detain seven passengers who were carrying drugs in their stomachs in the past year, Alexander Zolotaryov, East Line's air security chief, told a news conference.

(c) 2005 Associated Press