Passengers are paying for security: where does the money go?
Under the acting regulations in Russia, every passenger is, in fact, paying for security. Although officially the fees are paid by airlines, in reality they are included in the ticket prices. Collecting the money from the state budget would be the right thing to do, say experts. But, where does the money go?
Yearly, up to $20 million is spent on security measures at Domodedovo. Of this amount, about $8 million is used to purchase new equipment. The Domodedovo administration is very proud of the way the work of the local security is organized. In the airport, the passengers are screened, the crew, employees, luggage, aircraft, onboard supplies, and transported mail is inspected, reads the official Domodedovo website. Meanwhile, some of the latest methods and technologies are used: trained dogs, video cameras, x-ray scanners for luggage, and “naked scanners” for people (they make it possible to fully examine a clothed person in seconds). But in practice, one weak link in this expensive security system was enough for terrorists.
Often, a significant part of these expenses is borne by the state. For example, after September 11, 2001 the US had allocated budget funds for the purchase of the latest surveillance systems in airports. The rest is included in ticket prices (up to €11 in Europe). In Russia, aviation security is funded by the airlines – from the tariffs, established by the Federal Tariff Service. Domodedovo collects from 138 to 188 rubles per passenger.
Clearly, the airlines are incorporating these expenses into the ticket prices, say experts. “So, it turns out that only large airports with heavy passenger traffic are able to afford solid equipment, worth several million dollars. Therefore, the level of people and luggage monitoring greatly varies throughout the country,” said Oleg Smirnov, president of the Partner for Civil Aviation Foundation. “I would recommend allocating funds from the state budget. After all, it is the government that is responsible for the safety of its citizens.”