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Airlines

UPDATE 1-Airport security lines a concern after Brussels attacks -American CEO

(Adds CEO quotes, background, byline)

March 31 (Reuters) - American Airlines Group Inc Chief Executive Doug Parker said on Thursday it was too early to tell if the March 22 Brussels attacks would reduce demand for flights, though long airport security lines could discourage customers.

While the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has helped protect passengers from security threats, it lacks the staffing at times to move people quickly through queues, Parker told reporters at the Wings Club, an aviation society in New York. Long lines during peak flight times could be a problem, he said.

“If there’s any lesson from Brussels, it’s that (the attacks) happened outside the secure area where there were large groups of people,” Parker said. This makes it crucial to get passengers through security as “efficiently as possible,” he noted.

The attacks at Brussels’ main airport, part of a series of explosions around the city that killed 35 people, exploited the fact that security was more focused on preventing assaults on airplanes rather than in airports.

Airlines have been increasingly frustrated by long U.S. airport security lines that have slowed their passengers.

“We’re working closely with (TSA) to figure out what to do: keeping them briefed every day, showing them here’s the peak times, here’s where we really need your guys and where,” Parker said. “We’re worried about the summer.” (Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in New York; Editing by Richard Chang)

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