Airports: A tale of two countries

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Associated Press

Posted on December 25, 2009 at 11:10 PM

UNDATED (AP) — The Northwest Airlines flight that was an apparent terrorist target began in Nigeria and went through Amsterdam en route to Detroit.

Schiphol airport in Amsterdam is one of Europe's busiest, and a main transit point for passengers traveling from Africa and Asia to North America. It strictly enforces European security regulations including only allowing small amounts in hand luggage that must be placed inside clear plastic bags.

But security at Nigeria's two major international airports in the capital Abuja and in its megacity Lagos are more of a concern. Federal officers often focus their time on keeping hagglers and taxi drivers out. Bags quickly pass through X-ray scanners, and those who are watching incoming passengers do not typically conduct tests for explosive residue on carry-on baggage or on shoes.

At the gate, airline workers often check passengers again with handheld metal detectors before they board their flight.

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Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, Netherlands, topographic map, partial graphic

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