Authorities are poring over CCTV footage from Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport in a bid to establish whether an airport employee could have played a part in any potential terrorist involvement in the crash of EgyptAir flight MS804, the Times has reported on 21 May. It comes a day after it was claimed that Islamic extremists are trying to recruit staff at airports in France.
Speaking to AFP news agency, a judicial official revealed that background checks and interviews are being carried out by French authorities on ground staff at Charles de Gaulle airport who had a link to EgyptAir flight MS804 which crashed on 19 May.
The plane, which took off from Charles de Gaulle carrying 66 people, vanished from the sky shortly after it entered Egyptian air space.
The cause of the crash remains unclear, despite debris being discovered. The two leading theories are there was an explosion on board the aircraft or a major mechanical malfunction.
Charles de Gaulle is one of the world's most rigorously controlled airports. If evidence of terrorist collusion in the fate of MS804 and that airport staff were involved is uncovered, it would have far-reaching ramifications for the airline industry.
The Times report says: "Authorities fear that radical Islamists might have slipped through vetting procedures to join the 82,000 people with airside security clearance."
In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015, around 85 red badges – which are valid for three years and provide staff with access to restricted areas – were revoked by French authorities. They were mostly withdrawn due to the "phenomenon of radicalisation", according to the head of the Paris airport authority, Augustin de Romanet.
Speaking to the BBC Today programme earlier this week, lawyer Eric Moucay said: "There is recruitment going at the airports, that's clear. There are people who are being radicalised in some of the trade unions. The authorities have their work cut out with this problem."
So far, there is no evidence to suggest there was a security breach at the Parisian airport, which handles around 65m passengers a year. But the vetting procedure for new hires, which predominantly consists of checking a prospective employee's criminal record and whether they are considered a national security threat by French intelligence agencies, is under question.