Investigators from the European Commission (EC) posing as passengers have identified major loopholes in security at Germany's Frankfurt Airport by successfully smuggling banned items past security checks.
The EC investigators' findings were published on Sunday in the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
The newspaper reported that the inspectors were able to carry weapons and other dangerous items past security staff every second time they tried to do so.
The main reason cited for these deficits was the lack of trained personnel as they were often not able to recognise dangerous items when viewing the screens they use to examine X-ray images of baggage.
Deutsche Welle reported that if the EC was not convinced that Frankfurt Airport has done enough to ensure passengers' security, it could change its status to a 'non-Schengen airport', referring to Europe's internal border-free zone, which would mean that passengers transiting through Frankfurt would have to go through additional checks when entering other EU countries.
According to the report, police spokesman Christian Altenhofen said that immediate measures have been introduced to ensure the safety of passengers.
Bild quoted airport spokesman Christopher Holschier as saying: "We take that very seriously. Altogether 2,500 staff are currently being re-trained so that suspect items no longer pass through the checks."
The EC refused to comment on the probe.
Operated by Fraport, the airport is spread across an area of 21km² of land and comprises two passenger terminals with an annual capacity of approximately 65 million passengers, four runways and extensive logistics facilities.
Image: Frankfurt airport is considered to be one of the busiest in Germany. Photo: courtesy of Sven Teschke, Büdingen.