Speaking at the ongoing 22nd AVSEC World Conference in Istanbul, Tony Tyler, director general and CEO, IATA said, "Aviation security stands at a crossroads. Global passenger numbers will be approaching four billion per year by 2017, and the aging systems and outdated procedures of the current security system will not be able to cope. We need to change from prescriptive one-size-fits-all measures and embrace performance-based regulation if the economic benefits of aviation growth are not to be curtailed by security inefficiency."
Tyler noted three key areas for improving security cooperation: The importance of early collaboration between industry and government; that the shift to a risk-based approach should be pursued more aggressively; and security is best enhanced through a strengthened and harmonised global system—not adopting disparate regimes.
The move to risk-based security requires advance passenger information (API) to be collected by governments. Some 45 states already have API or passenger name record (PNR) programmes, with a similar number looking to implement such schemes. However, it is essential that these regimes be harmonised in line with international civil aviation organisation (ICAO) regulations. In addition the cost of collecting and processing the data should be borne by governments and not the airlines.
The data being collected can also be used more effectively. The use of registered traveller programmes can be broadened. The success of voluntary immigration and customs known traveller programmes demonstrates that passengers are willing to share even more data in order to smooth the process.
Tyler said, "Governments and industry can work together to make better use of the data collected. A good example is the checkpoint of the future initiative, which aims to improve the security and convenience of passenger screening by moving to a risk-based approach and adopting advanced technology. The flying public is eager to see the checkpoint of future deployed as quickly as possible. Stakeholders are aligned behind a staged implementation that will see the first versions in 2014. Subsequent stages will see us move from re-purposing equipment and using data more thoughtfully to the eventual deployment of new equipment in the final stage, around 2020."
The development of more secure freight chains has been a consequence of the foiled 2010 printer cartridge bomb plot. However, the proliferation of auditing regimes has not been harmonised. It would be better for governments to mutually recognise secure freight programmes.
Particular concern is the tight timeframe for airlines to become compliant with the European Union’s (EU) ACC3 regulation, which from July 1, 2014 will prevent the import into the EU any air freight from a non-validated or recognised third country. Although IATA has developed an independent validators training programme, the numbers of validators are limited and it is vital that airlines and freight forwarders work together to maximise the opportunities for combining auditing.
The IATA Secure Freight programme helps to ensure a sterile, secure air cargo supply chain from packing to delivery. It has been piloted in nine states so far, with Russia due to join in 2014. And at the opening plenary of AVSEC World, Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding to explore a secure freight pilot in the country.
Aviation security is evolving to face new threats. Aviation relies on computer systems for almost every aspect of the business, leaving it potentially vulnerable to cyber attack. Industry, regulators, and manufacturers need to work together to share best practice and mitigation strategies.
Tyler said, "We need to be ready for this change in thinking. How should regulators treat this new security dimension, and how can airlines tackle cyber security and airline security as a single unit? Our resources are not infinite."
In the face of new threats and new challenges, the culture of aviation security requires significant reform. Appropriate training of security specialists is needed by industry and regulators alike, while the move from one-size-fits-all to risk-based procedures needs to accelerate. The cost of aviation security needs to be reviewed – with more than US$ 100 billion spent by airlines alone in the period since 9/11, the industry needs to be sure that this money is being well spent. The respective responsibilities of governments and industry for the cost of security procedures also needs to be better understood.
“The terrible shooting at Los Angeles International Airport is a reminder that aviation security is always going to be tested. It is a sad reality of modern life that evil and disturbed individuals often target public spaces, including airports, to commit atrocities. Regulators have the difficult task of balancing security with the needs of modern society for mobility. The common vision among industry and regulators is data-driven, risk-based and outcome-focused security delivered in partnership with industry and to harmonised global standards. The challenge is to work together to deliver it while staying one step ahead of those who would choose to do our industry harm,” said Tyler.