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Australia to put marshals on some flights
Updated: 2004-05-09 13:32

Australia agreed Saturday to beef up aviation security and place armed air marshals on some flights to the United States.

Justice Minister Chris Ellison and U.S. Ambassador Tom Schieffer signed the agreement to put U.S. air marshals on U.S.-registered flights and Australian air security officers on Australian flights between the two close allies.

Ellison refused to give details about the timing and nature of the deployment of the undercover marshals, but they are expected to be on random flights from next week.

"This agreement with the United States is particularly significant given the barbaric terror attacks in New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001," he said.

Sky marshals have been on flights to and from Singapore since Christmas and have been operating on domestic flights in Australia since the end of 2001.

The government is continuing negotiations with other countries including Canada, its Asian neighbors and Britain about introducing air marshals on flights.

The national carrier, Qantas, confirmed it was involved in the sky marshal program but would not say if the cost of the scheme would be transferred on to tickets.

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