The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for aviation security to be further strengthened, saying governments and the industry have to work together to prepare for the challenges ahead.
Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of IATA, told the IATA AVSEC World Conference in Abu Dhabi: “We cannot predict the next security challenge. But some things we do know for sure. Our common defence is stronger when governments and industry work together. And if we can avoid long-term extraterritorial measures, focus on global standards, share information and develop technology efficiently, our hand is strengthened even further.”
The association said governments should develop long-term strategies for dealing with extraterritorial measures, with de Juniac specifically referring to TSA’s new requirement for airlines to conduct interviews with passengers flying to the US.
“Such interviews are traditionally done by government authorities,” he commented. “In the short-term, airlines may seem to be the best positioned to conduct the interviews. But in the long-term, if governments believe that these interviews are critical, then governments themselves should work together to dedicate the resources need to fulfil that function.”
De Juniac also pointed out a lack of global standards for airline security. “States are responsible for implementing effective security measures. Annex 17 of the Chicago Convention – which has been in place for four decades – makes this clear. But shockingly, 40 per cent of states have struggled to implement even its baseline requirements.
“Development and implementation are different things – as we clearly see with low levels of compliance to Annex 17 requirements,” he said, referring to the Global Aviation Security Plan set out by the ICAO. “States will need to integrate the priority actions outlined in GASeP into their respective National Civil Aviation Security Programmes if it is to be effective.”
Using the US and UK’s banning of portable electronic devices as an example, de Juniac said it is critical that governments share information with each other and with airlines to avoid confusion. He commented that sharing intelligence keeps passengers and crew secure and “is the only way to stop terrorists”. He welcomed the introduction of information sharing requirements to Annex 17 but said it falls short of what is needed.
“Airlines don’t want access to state secrets,” he added. “But if airlines understand the outcome governments want, they can help with the operational experience to deliver results effectively and efficiently.”
Lastly, de Juniac said he hopes the work of the TSA Innovation Task Force and the UK’s Future Aviation Security Solutions programme (FASS) will help to streamline and coordinate certification processes across jurisdictions. He said IATA’s Global Passenger Survey shows travellers are willing to share more information if it means a smoother security and border control process.
Read de Juniac’s full speech here.