Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thousands could be grounded by US-EU air security spat: IATA

TOKYO (AFP) - Over 100,000 people a week could be stopped from flying unless the United States and the European Union strike a deal over the provision of sensitive information on passengers, the top industry body said.

The EU's top court in May overturned a decision forcing airlines to supply data on European passengers to US authorities as part of a security crackdown, giving the two sides until September 30 to reach a new agreement.

"The US and Europe must move quickly to avoid a big potential crisis over the Atlantic in the following weeks," said the director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Giovanni Bisignani.

"Failure to agree by September 30 could ground up to 105,000 travellers a week," he told reporters in a speech in Tokyo.

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