Possible clamp-down on domestic flight security

Prime Minister John Key (AAP)
Prime Minister John Key (AAP)

A big clamp-down on security for domestic flights is likely, to stop terrorists putting bombs on New Zealand aircraft.

Prime Minister John Key revealed the possible changes at the APEC forum in the Philippines, where the fight against Islamic State is dominating the agenda. 

A tiny bomb inside a soft drink is what Islamic State claims brought down a Russian jet over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.  It's suspected to have been packed into the checked-in bags on the flight and wasn't picked up in security X-rays, and that's exposed a big loophole on New Zealand domestic flights.  

"We just need to be more and more cautious," says Mr Key. 

Checked bags go in the cargo hold below the plane and international flights are screened.

3 News has learned that there are no security checks on any checked bags on domestic flights in New Zealand.  That includes the bigger domestic jets flying between the main centres.  

As part of a long-planned review, changes are also on the way for regional flights from smaller airports.  You may no longer be able to get straight on a plane without any security checks.  

"We're looking at a couple of initiatives in regional airports we might consider," says Key.  

More security checks may make travel more expensive.  

"It's not impossible, but if it was it would be very minor," he says.

Talk of security has dominated the APEC forum of 21 world leaders, who are grappling with two major terror attacks in less than a month: the Russian jet bombing, and the Paris attacks. 

John Key isn't mucking around with the domestic travel changes - he was briefed on progress just before travelling here to APEC - and they will be introduced within months.  

3 News