Ryanair threatens suit over security

Aug. 18, 2006 at 11:57 PM

LONDON, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- The head of low-cost British airline Ryanair has offered the government a deal -- return security to normal or get sued.

Michael O'Leary, standing next to a cardboard figure of Winston Churchill, said the airline will not put in a claim for compensation if limits on the size of carry-on bags and increased body searches are dropped, the Guardian reported.

He called the changes "farcical Keystone Cops security measures that don't add anything except to block up airports."

The carry-on restriction, which prohibits anything bigger than a large briefcase, is tough on Ryanair. The airline had been moving toward encouraging passengers to carry on as much as possible to save money on ground staff.

O'Leary said the government correctly jacked up security after the arrest of an alleged terrorist group charged with planning to blow up trans-Atlantic planes. But he said airlines cannot carry the burden alone.

In addition to the carry-on restrictions, half the passengers are now subjected to body searches, up from one-quarter.

O'Leary said terrorists would be "laughing in the caves of Afghanistan" if they saw small children and the elderly being searched.

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