House mulls passenger plane cargo scans

Jan. 8, 2007 at 12:20 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are favoring a bill that would require the security inspection of all cargo on U.S. passenger aircraft.

The measure is part of a larger bill scheduled to be voted on Tuesday, and is the pet project of U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., Congress' leading advocate for cargo inspection, USA Today reported.

It would not require screening of cargo on cargo-only aircraft, which carry 75 percent of the country's air shipments, but industry groups are opposed to the all-out measure for passenger craft, the report said.

The extra time required for screening perishable items like seafood and other cargos could force airlines to drop some passenger routes, said David Castelveter, spokesman for the Air Transport Association, which represents major U.S. airlines. He said because cargo shipments can provide a large portion of a flight's revenue, some routes may not be profitable without cargo.

While the bill appears to have enough support to pass, Markey told the newspaper he wasn't certain the Senate would keep his amendment in the final bill.

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