All flights halted at Cologne airport after security breach

All flights at Cologne-Bonn Airport have been stopped due to a security threat on Monday morning, German media report, citing police sources.

A person is believed to have breached security and all aircraft have returned to the terminals as a safety precaution.

Passengers are being forced to remain inside the planes while they are grounded. A search is taking place at present to try and find the trespasser. It is unclear at which part of the airport the person has breached security.

This latest incident will come as further embarrassment to the airport, after the transportation hub accidently published plans on the internet in April of how it would combat a possible terrorist emergency.

The 230-page document gave a comprehensive plan for how to react in case of a whole range of emergencies, from natural disasters to kidnappings or terrorist attacks. The phone numbers and contact details of key security personnel were also published online.

However, unbeknown to the authorities, their best-laid plans were available for any potential terrorists to see on the internet. The documents would also provide them with invaluable information such as potential escape routes.

The mishap came months after a report by the German television station WDR, which revealed that Cologne-Bonn Airport’s security system failed to detect dangerous items in carry-on luggage.

EU inspectors carried out tests at the airport in February and tried to smuggle weapons and bomb-making equipment through security. Alarmingly, these objects were only detected six out of 12 times by the security staff manning the x-ray machines.

When the staff were given an advanced warning that dangerous items could be carried through security, the detection rate actually worsened, with nine out of 12 dangerous items managing to get through unnoticed.

The revelations are likely to reignite a debate in Germany concerning who should be responsible for securing the country’s transport hubs, with more criticism being poured on the private sector.

“Too much attention is paid to speed and reducing costs – and much too little to security,” Police Union representative Ernst Walter told WDR. (RT)