More than 30 people working at Geneva International Airport have had their runway access passes revoked after the discovery of French baggage handlers suspected of radicalism.
The cancellation of the Geneva Airport runway access passes took place in late December following the discovery earlier that month that French security services had files on two radicalised baggage handlers from France who had worked at the airport, reports Le Temps.
After the radicalised baggage handlers had been exposed, the head of Geneva’s Department of Security, Police and the Economy, Pierre Maudet, announced that security controls at the airport would be tightened. One such measure has seen the validity of the runway passes reduced from five to two years, a step that affects some 10,000 employees.
Between 32 and 35 passes have been revoked, although Swissport spokesman Jean-Luc Payot would not confirm the number. He said:
“We were informed by the police that some employees were not allowed to work within the airport. So we took the necessary measures.”
The Department of Security, Police and the Economy refused to confirm or deny the figures, nor would it clarify whether the new access restrictions had been related to suspicions of terrorism.
Airport spokesman Bertrand Stämpfli confirmed to AFP that it was on the recommendation of the police that the decision to withdraw badges from some employees of companies operating at the airport had been taken. Conceding that it did not necessarily mean the employees had been fired, he added: “But in all likelihood, some will not keep their jobs.”
Mr. Stämpfli also pointed out that the radicalised French baggage holders were in fact no longer working at Geneva airport when French security services began to take an interest in them.
At the time the runway access passes were revoked last month, the Swiss canton of Geneva was on a heightened security alert owing to intelligence from the U.S. about a specific jihadist terror threat in the region.