In the years after 9/11, security surrounding air travel in the United States has heightened. Almost all passengers coming from international flights have to clear customs and security. Air marshals also patrol the sky and the TSA has taken other precautionary measures.
In situations where security standards in a country do not meet US criteria, airlines are not allowed to operate direct flights to the United States. Kuwait Airways has to make a stopover in Shannon, Ireland for passengers to clear security again.
Air security is handled by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Recently, the DHS released a statement in regards to Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International airport:
“Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL), which serves as a last-point-of-departure airport for flights to the United States, does not maintain and carry out effective security consistent with the security standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)”
Interestingly enough, the DHS also released guidelines for what airlines should do in light of this situation:
“In view of this finding and effective immediately, airlines issuing tickets for travel between the United States and MNL are directed to notify passengers in writing of this determination. The Secretary has also directed this advisory be displayed prominently at all U.S. airports that provide regularly scheduled service to MNL”
For passengers traveling from Manila to the US, this is a bit of a relief. DHS is not requiring airlines to suspend direct flights to the US from Manila. Flights will instead operate as usual with the disclaimer on airport security.
Currently, the following routes are directly operated from Ninoy Aquino International Airport to the United States.
These routes are operated by United Airlines and Philippine Airlines. Neither airline’s operations are expected to be disrupted.
Ultimately, this is an interesting situation. While Manila airport does not meet security standards, there effectively is no real enforcement of the decision. It will be interesting to see how passengers react.
On the other hand, it would be interesting to learn what the security issues are at the Manila Airport.
I’ve flown out of multiple airports in countries with direct flights to the United States where security seemed a bit questionable. In one instance, while queueing in security for a red-eye flight to the US, I ended up walking through a metal detector with my phone in my pocket and my belt with a metal buckle on and no one batted an eye. There were no security warnings for the airport in question.
What are your thoughts on this situation? Would you still fly out of Ninoy Aquino International Airport? Let us know in the comments below!