Reporter carries knife and toy gun on to plane unchallenged
JUST 24 hours after two pilots were stabbed in their cockpit over Christchurch, I boarded a plane at our largest airport with a knife and a fake revolver
Nervously arriving at Auckland Airport yesterday for the 10.30am Air New Zealand flight to Napier, I expected to encounter at least some difficulty along the way.
But there were no checks and I was free to walk on with anything I pleased.
Despite carrying the kitchen knife, with a 20cm blade and a toy firearm clearly banned under civil aviation regulations, absolutely no interest was shown in the contents of my hand luggage, despite the presence of state-of-the-art X-ray equipment inside Auckland's domestic terminal.
After checking in and simply presenting my boarding pass at the gate, I stepped on to NZ5751 for the 50-minute journey to Hawke's Bay.
Ironically, on board the almost full AT7 plane which carries up to 64 people a female passenger asked one of two female flight attendants: `You don't have anyone on board with weapons today do you?'
The attendant laughed and replied: "Not that I know of."
At Napier, the lack of interest in my bag was evident again as I embarked on a quick turnaround and boarded the return flight to Auckland at 12.20pm.
That trip was laced with even deeper irony as I sat next to next to a member of the Armed Offenders Squad.
He spent the entire flight reading a police-issue manual about radio codes while I sat drinking tea and concealing my gun and knife.
Passengers I chatted to on both legs of the journey were aware that security was lax and had no problem with the idea of regular or random checks at Kiwi airports.
"It seems outrageous that you and I can get on board with whatever we want yet, we are thousands of feet in the air in a fairly vulnerable environment," said a Hastings woman, totally unaware of the weapons in my possession.
Last night National leader John Key said with the sophisticated security systems in place at Auckland Airport's domestic terminal, it was "unsatisfactory" a revolver and knife could be taken onto an aircraft.
But Key said caution should be exercised when reacting to Friday's nightmare trip from Blenheim to Christchurch during which a 33-year-old Somali woman entered the cockpit and allegedly stabbed the two pilots.