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SYDNEY, Australia (Australian Broadcasting Corp, August 11) - An association of airlines based in the Asia-Pacific region is backing the heightened aviation security measures in Britain and the United States.

"Safety and security are always a top priority for airlines, and our member airlines are fully cooperating with the relevant authorities in implementing the new measures announced by the UK and US," the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) said in a statement.

AAPA is the trade association of 17 airlines based in the Asia Pacific, its members include Qantas, Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Garuda Indonesia and Thai Airways.

AAPA director general Andrew Herdman acknowledged the new measures have resulted in disruption at airports, flight delays and inconveniences to passengers.

But he assured that AAPA's member airlines "are doing everything they can to minimise the impact on the travelling public, and working closely with airports and the relevant authorities to restore smooth operations."

He added: "Travellers can be confident that air travel remains safe and secure."

Airlines worldwide are still scrambling to recover from the chaos caused after the discovery by British police of an alleged plot to blow up planes flying from Britain to the United States.

Passengers face delays and tighter checks as authorities impose stricter security measures while trying to clear a backlog of thousands of air travellers stranded when flights were cancelled yesterday and overnight.

Qantas says it is in constant contact with the Australian, British and United States governments to ensure it is meeting all security requirements.

The airline is advising international passengers to check its website for any updates and allow extra time for additional security measures being taken at airports.

Qantas has not confirmed how long the extra security measures will be in place.

Executive general manager of Qantas John Borghetti says passengers can be assured the carrier is doing all it can to ensure their safety.

"No one can ever guarantee anything in the world, in any industry, in any job, in any company," he said.

"But what we can guarantee is that the procedures that we've got in place and the seriousness that we approach this particular subject with is as good as you'll get."

August 14, 2006

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