Geoffrey Reid Associates to use UK airport design expertise to protect American airports against terrorism.
Top five architect Geoffrey Reid Associates is to advise US airports on how to improve security after the 11 September terrorist attacks.

Senior government and business figures in America believe that the UK's experience of the Lockerbie bombing and of IRA attacks makes it well-placed to offer security advice. US airport authorities have contacted the UK umbrella organisation British Airports Group for help.

The first draft of a capability report has been drawn up, with Geoffrey Reid Associates advising on improving security design. The practice has produced masterplans for airport group BAA, including designs to incorporate baggage screening facilities into Terminals 1 and 3 at Heathrow Airport.

The practice is to recommend ways of introducing similar security devices in US airports without causing long delays to passengers.

Andrew Leckenby, director of Geoffrey Reid, said: "The BAG has been liaising with the States to see if there is any way the UK can assist. We should be advising the US of our security capability and how it can be transferred to the USA."

US and UK airports differ in that American airports are predominantly owned by the local city or town, whereas UK airports are owned by the private sector.

Redesign cannot guarantee total safety, but it can minimise disaster

Geoffrey Reid Associates report

It is expected that senators and congressmen will visit the UK in January to assessthe findings of the capability report and to seek further advice.

Geoffrey Reid Associates has also recommended improvements for UK airports, such as separate zones for arriving and departing passengers.

The firm acknowledges that design alone will not remove all security deficiencies. A forthcoming company article says: "Reconfiguration or redesign [of existing airports] cannot guarantee absolute safety, but it can minimise the possibility of disaster, while keeping disruption and inconvenience to a minimum."

  • BAA has put its car park roll-out programme on hold as part of an investment review.

    Last month the firm also froze docking area contracts worth £90m for Gatwick's Pier 6 and another worth tens of millions at Heathrow's Victor Pier.

    A spokesperson for BAA said: "Following 11 September, the car parks programme has been deferred until the situation becomes clearer."