The Civil Aviation Authority has condemned a newspaper stunt involving a reporter boarding a plane at the country's biggest airport carrying a knife and a fake revolver.
Just 24 hours after two pilots were stabbed in an attempted hijack over Christchurch, a Sunday News reporter told today how he was able to breach security at Auckland Airport.
The reporter arrived at the domestic terminal yesterday for the 10.30am Air New Zealand flight to Napier, carrying the kitchen knife, with a 20cm blade and a toy firearm in hand luggage.
He said there were no checks and "I was free to walk on with anything I pleased".
"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."
The CAA's communications manager Bill Sommer today dismissed the stunt as "irresponsible and illegal".
He said the reporter's action could have compromised the safety of other passengers and could have led to aircraft delays.
But he refused to say if he felt the reporter should face prosecution saying that was a matter for the CAA's enforcement unit and police.
Air New Zealand did not return calls this morning.
Aviation Security Service say that passenger luggage in aircraft containing less than 90 seats is not screened.
Smaller airports also have no facilities for screening passengers.
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 he caution should be exercised when reacting to Friday's incident during which a woman stabbed two pilots and a passenger.
"Clearly public safety is paramount but we need to see if there is a systemic problem," he told the Sunday News.
Asha Ali Abdille, from Blenheim, appeared in Chrsitchurch District Court yesterday charged with attempted hijacking, wounding, and injuring with intent to injure.
She was remanded in custody until February 22 for psychiatric reports.
She allegedly pulled out a knife on Friday's flight between Blenheim and Christchurch and demanded to be taken to Australia.
A scuffle developed during which the pilot and co-pilot and a passenger were injured.
The flight landed safely in Christchurch.
The pilot underwent emergency surgery for a cut hand and was released from Christchurch Hospital this morning.
The co-pilot and the passenger, a Christchurch mother-of-two, were treated for stab wounds and discharged.
The names of all three were suppressed by the court.
Air New Zealand, the CAA and the Aviation Security Service are investigating the attempted hijack.
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