IATA Urges Airlines to Cut Security Hassles

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments and regulators to work with the industry to eliminate ineffective duplication of aviation security procedures.

“Security is a top priority, alongside safety and environmental responsibility. Even with an expected $11 billion in losses this year, the priorities will not be compromised. The financial crisis makes it more important than ever for regulators, security agencies, airports and airlines to work together and to work smarter to ensure that every dollar spent brings benefit,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and CEO.

“It is time to eliminate ineffective and costly duplication of aviation security procedures. They are costly for airlines and a hassle for our passengers but do nothing to improve security. Harmonization, efficiency and cost effectiveness are the key to keeping aviation secure,” said Guenther Matschnigg, IATA’s senior vice president of safety operations and infrastructure in a keynote address to AVSEC World 2009, the annual gathering of aviation security policy makers and stakeholders, in Cape Town, South Africa.

“Airlines now spend US$5.9 billion a year on security. Airlines and travelers cannot afford to pay for duplication because governments have not been able to harmonize or have mutually-agreed requirements,” said Matschnigg.

To address the security challenge, IATA and the Aviation Security Executive Group developed a strategy based on five key criteria, which will deliver effective and appropriate security measures, without causing damage to an already fragile airline community.

IATA says the five criteria for this win-win strategy are:

1. Adopting a threat-based and risk managed approach using systems-based measures. IATA has developed a holistic Security Management System (SeMS) which could be integrated into national regulations.

2. In shaping the regulatory framework, instead of working in isolation, regulators must work with industry on outcome-based legislation.

3. Airlines and regulators must manage their relationship to share their perspectives, knowledge and experience of operational impact to the development and evolution of regulations. This includes regulators exercising caution before introducing even small regulatory or procedural changes which cost millions of dollars for airlines to test and implement.

4. The deliberate and structured use of innovation and technology to support continual security improvement.

5. Implementing cost-effective and efficient measures judged in terms of added value, proportionality, common sense and cost-effectiveness.  This will foster decision making based on data and sound threat analysis instead of fear and improbability.

AVSEC World 2009, being held in Cape Town from 10-12 November, sees key security experts from governments, airlines and airports gathering to set a global air transport security agenda that addressing current threats, identifies best practice and sets global standards that will  help the industry survive today – and be prepared for the future, IATA said.

Visit www.iata.org.