Crisis? What Crisis? The Truth about New Zealands's Airport Security

AIRPORT SECURITY around the world changed forever after terrorists crashed planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon

"At the end of the day it (security costs) goes on to the passenger's ticket."

The cost of security on each domestic air ticket is $2.80.

Peter Cozens, the director of Victoria University's Centre for Strategic Studies, says New Zealand needs to be seen as serious about security if it wants to continue to attract tourists.

"Maybe some people would say security in the regional airports is not worthwhile, but you can't be too secure.

"Visitors to New Zealand are the lifeblood industry. If they don't feel secure, they won't come and see us."

Victoria University aviation expert Leslie Brown says potential risks should be balanced with reasonable security costs.

"New Zealand is part of a world that is a risky place, but you've got to assess all the risks and do the best job possible. Somebody has to pay."

Massey University's terrorism specialist Jeff Sluka believes all airport security is "purely cosmetic".

"Maybe it increases your security by 1%. From the perspective of guerrilla warfare and terrorism, no security is going to stop them. Say al Qaeda wants to do something to an airplane flying from Palmerston North to Wellington, virtually nothing you could do would stop that.

"But what we can do is be seen to be serious about this and it's important to reassure the public."