Minister for justice and security Per-Willy Amundsen confirmed the government’s stance on Thursday, reports VG.
“The National Police Directorate [Politidirektorate] has asked to be armed and the Ministry of Justice and Public Security has agreed to temporary armament at Oslo Airport. The armament will initially apply for three months,” Amundsen said.
Dag Falk-Petersen, director of Oslo Airport’s operating company Avinor, told broadcaster NRK that global threat levels required armed police at all of Norway’s major airports.
“Gardemoen is obviously key, but we think the police should be armed at all of our largest airports,” Falk-Petersen said.
Chief of Police Steven Hasseldal, though not a supporter of armed police in Norway in general, will implement the measure at Oslo’s airport as soon as possible and possible by as soon as Friday, reports VG.
“This initiative is necessary in order to avoid and limit potential terror attacks at Gardemoen,” he said.
The necessity of the measure is also connected to a large increase of passenger traffic at the airport following its expansion and the building of new terminals, Hasseldal added.
In a press statement, Oslo Airport’s security department said that large, open areas at the airport are accessible with relatively few security measures and many travellers passing through.
Amundsen said that the potential for damage caused by a terror attack at Gardemoen was significant.
“It is therefore important that police, in a dangerous situation, are able to limit the damage caused by such an act. We want to do that by arming them,” he said according to VG’s report.