The latest attacks on a European city again put transport hubs in the spotlight, travel and tourism stocks tumbling after the Brussels bombings. With the sector also marking the first anniversary of the Germanwings crash, Joel Flynn asks what steps airlines are taking to protect their business and passengers.
Within hours of the Brussels bombings, airports elsewhere across the world began increasing their security. Manila's international airport tightening checks on passengers, as fear of further attacks as far away as the Philippines echoed wider worries in the aviation industry. SOUNDBITE: Manila International Airport Authority Spokesperson, David De Castro, saying (English): "We are on alert level one or on heightened security. Under heightened security, we have increased surveillance, as well as a stricter implementation of screening procedures for passengers." In Israel more security drills for airport staff. Airlines here and elsewhere will be worrying too about passengers staying away not just from the Middle East, but perhaps now central Europe as well. SOUNDBITE: World First Chief Economist Jeremy Cook, saying (English): "The security risk is something that's going to knock profits in the short term and unless we see a pick up in the security efforts of governments within Europe, you'd have to say it's going to remain a considerable headwind." Amid these concerns though there are some brighter spots for airlines. Lower oil prices mean bigger margins. U.S. travellers also attracted to Europe as a result of the dollar's strength against the euro. SOUNDBITE: Independent aviation analyst, Alex Macheras, saying (English): "Paris and Brussels are known for being great cities to fly to and we can fly very cheaply from Europe. If anything we, like you say, we might see a slight fall in the price of flights as other travellers who are booked to go are cancelling and actually not rebooking." This week's developments mark a torrid year for airlines. The Belgium attacks 12 months almost to the day after the Germanwings crash in the French Alps. Airlines might often talk of innovation in experiences, but for passengers, safety is still the priority.