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Security gaps found at Germany's biggest airport

[BERLIN] An EU probe has found major security lapses at Germany's biggest airport in Frankfurt enabling weapons and other items to be smuggled through passenger safety checks, a newspaper said Sunday.

The failings, detected in an undercover European Union-commissioned investigation, were largely down to badly trained staff, Germany's Bild am Sonntag weekly said.

Investigators managed, on every second attempt, to smuggle weapons or dangerous substances through security, it said.

The newspaper quoted police spokesman Christian Altenhofen as saying that immediate measures had been introduced to ensure the safety of passengers.

Bild said the main problem was poorly trained staff from the company commissioned to provide the security service.

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The EU report unearthed an apparent inability by many workers to interpret X-ray images correctly during hand luggage screening, it said.

"We take that very seriously," Bild quoted airport spokesman Christopher Holschier as saying.

"Altogether 2,500 staff are currently being re-trained so that suspect items no longer pass through the checks," he was quoted as also saying.

Bild said the EU Commission declined to comment on the report's findings.

But it said that if the Commission finds shortcomings again, it is threatening to classify Frankfurt as a non-Schengen airport, referring to the EU's visa-free travel zone.

This would mean that passengers transiting through the hub would face further security checks on arrival in other EU member states.


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