The International Air Transport Association (IATA) 72nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) unanimously adopted a resolution that denounces terrorism and calls for intensified cooperation among governments as well as within the air transport industry to keep flying secure.
“The foundation stone of security has been rocked by tragedy. In the last twelve months, terrorists have laid claim to atrocities involving Metrojet 9268, Daallo 159, and at Brussels Airport. These are grim reminders that aviation is vulnerable. Airlines rely on governments to keep passengers and employees secure as part of their responsibility for national security. And we are committed to working with them in that challenging task,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
The resolution calls for airlines to work together with airports and other key stakeholders to counter the risk of terrorist threats and urges governments to work in partnership among themselves and with airlines to counter the risk of terrorist threats to aviation, recognising the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO’s) critical role in this effort. The resolution also calls for commitment of all possible government resources, particularly intelligence resources, to fighting the use of aviation for terrorist acts as well as the sharing of relevant information to ensure that measures to prevent and respond to terrorist acts are appropriate and effective. The resolution reinforces the commitment of cooperation by the Global Travel Association Coalition (of which IATA is a member) following the Brussels attacks.
The recent attack on Brussels Airport highlighted the importance of security in airport public areas. Keeping this area secure is fully the responsibility of governments and the most effective defence is government intelligence to stop terrorists long before they reach airport property.
Risk in airport public areas can be mitigated, however, with efficient processes and IATA is working with Airports Council International (ACI) to expand the footprint of the joint Smart Security initiative to streamline airport screening with modern technology and a risk-based approach. This will bring the triple benefit of reduced queues, more effective screening, and an improved passenger experience.
In addition, IATA is working with partners across the value chain to implement fast travel, which will expedite passenger processing with self-service options. Internet check-in and home-printed baggage tags allow the passenger to arrive at the airport ready to travel, thereby reducing passenger dwell time in areas of the airport.
“Intelligence is the most powerful tool that governments have to protect their citizens wherever they are—at work, in their homes or while travelling. One of the biggest risk areas are large crowds. Industry is helping to bolster these efforts with practical measures—Smart Security and Fast Travel—that will mitigate risk by reducing airport queues,” said Tyler.