The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on security regulators around the world to work together to make the skies more secure by addressing the challenges related to cargo security and data collection. IATA also unveiled plans to lead a global effort to build an airport checkpoint of the future, which will tighten security and ease passenger hassle. “Belts, shoes and shampoos are not the problem. We must shift the screening focus from looking for bad objects to finding terrorists,” IATA said.
“We are much more secure than in 2001, but there is room for improvement,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and CEO at the opening of AVSEC World in Frankfurt, Germany. Bisignani identified several areas where more progress is needed to further improve aviation security and address passenger frustrations.
“The events in Yemen have put cargo security at the top of our agenda” said Bisignani who commended all the governments for their swift, coordinated and targeted response. “Air freight drives the world economy. The products that we carry represent 35 percent of the total value of goods traded internationally. In 2009, airlines carried 26 million tones of international cargo. By 2014, that will increase to 38 million tones. Transporting these goods safely, securely and efficiently is critical.”
IATA also called on regulators and industry to collaborate to modernize the 40 year old airport screening process. IATA has a short and long-term vision for the next generation checkpoint, Bisignani said.
“Belts, shoes and shampoos are not the problem” said Bisignani. “We must shift the screening focus from looking for bad objects to finding terrorists. To do this effectively, we need intelligence and technology at the checkpoint. The enormous amount of data that we collect on passengers can help governments to identify risks. The overall process must become much quicker and more convenient. It is not acceptable to treat passengers as terrorists until they prove themselves innocent. My long-term vision is for passengers to be able to get from the entrance of the airport to the door of the aircraft in a seamless and uninterrupted process.”
Data is critical to aviation security as its effective use helps governments to vet travelers and identify threats, Bisignani said. But it's costly and standardization is essential, estimating that airlines are spending $5.9 billion annually on security.
“Defining coordinated security responses with collaboration between industry and government have made more progress in the last 10 months than at any time since the tragic events of 2001. Governments and industry are now aligned with a common goal. We must use this momentum to move from words and agreements, to actions and results,” said Bisignani.