Shoe bomb still a threat to aviation: Top US official

US air travellers will have to continue to take off footwear for screenings.

Updated: May 20, 2011, 13:58 PM IST

Las Vegas: Shoe bombs are still a threat, so for now US air travellers will have to continue to take off their footwear for security screenings, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.

Napolitano said yesterday her department has been looking for a technological solution to the shoe problem, drawing applause at a conference of travel and tourism industry leaders.

She quickly added: "We`re not there yet, so wear slip-ons."

The shoe requirement is probably the most hated symbol of the raft of security measures imposed on air travellers after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Industry leaders have complained about a one-size-fits-all approach to aviation security that they say has discouraged travel and is costing billions of dollars in revenues.

"It`s a technological problem," said Napolitano. "Why? Because we know from a risk-based standard that our adversaries have tried before and are always attempting to see what they can get onto a plane that would constitute enough explosive material to blow a plane up," she said.

"That threat has not disappeared, and if anything even the public revelations out of the material seized out of this compound where (Osama) bin Laden was confirmed that aviation remains a target."

Napolitano said that nearly 10 years after September 11, the US government was pursuing strategies to take some of the hassle out of air travel, where possible.

She said nearly a million people have now enrolled in "Global Entry," a so-called "trusted traveller" programme that allows Prue-vetted passengers to clear customs more quickly. The administration`s goal is to double that number.