AVSEC, this year’s IXG aviation security conference will be held in Dubai over two days – 16th and 17th September – and will discuss the latest security needs and requirements of the aviation industry in an exploration of how technology today can enhance the industry’s ability to meet the growing challenges in this sector.
Key topics will include an assessment of ‘new and evolving threats to civil aviation’, developments in technology, cyber security, emergency response and crisis management, ways to maintain a motivated security workforce and, perhaps most importantly for some, passenger processing and handling in a discussion entitled ‘Integrated Design for Aviation Security Systems’.
Throughout the world, aviation security systems are becoming increasingly automated, and there is a growing demand within the security sector for additional physical security equipment and systems to cope with the growth in passenger numbers. Providers of physical security systems for aviation are under pressure to provide systems integrating physical and cyber security measures for comprehensive protection against the threat of attack.
Keeping airport perimeter security tight is a problem that is consistently rearing its head, particularly as security technology companies come up with more advanced sensors, software and motion detection solutions that the ‘men on the ground’ maintain are still not enough.
The high cost of advanced detection technology often prices smaller airports out of this market, but when faced with 268 counts of perimeter breach in US airports in ten years, the issue is clearly a critical one.
Airport perimeter security breaches consist primarily of people climbing over, crawling under or even driving vehicles through the fences that surround the airport. It is the airport’s responsibility to protect the perimeters, while the TSA handle the passenger and baggage screening.
Government officials are raising concerns over perimeter breaches and calling for upgrades to security equipment to reduce the risks. Congressman Eric Swalwell said, “Porous airport perimeters are major vulnerabilities that terrorists could exploit. I’m continuing to call for airports to use technologies that would alert officials the moment a perimeter is breached.”
As every airport differs in their surroundings, there is no single answer to increase security around airport perimeters. Many airport security personnel believe that increasing numbers of security personnel, coupled with an increase in high tech solutions would reduce instances of breach attempts, but staffing levels and funding variables make it difficult to apply the changes across the board.
Australia’s government has ordered a review of airport security following heightened terror alerts across the country to include an ‘active shooter’ response plan.
Physical airport security procedures will be reviewed and tightened, with measures in place to raise awareness amongst passengers. It was made clear by the Department of Transport that they were not requesting heightened implementation of additional security measures, but “review their current security measures to ensure they remain relevant for both generic and specific threat and alert level”.
Amongst the requests made of industry participants are that they ‘take steps to reinvigorate security awareness’; ‘increase vigilance around unattended or abandoned items’; increase security signage and increase face-to-face identification checks of personnel.
There has been an increase in Federal Police patrols as a reaction to the increased terror alert level – the first in Australian history – as they believe the threats to be real and an attack ‘imminent’.
Sydney airport is one of the first to review its physical security procedures and has launched a passenger campaign that is centred around the term ‘if you see something, say something’. Increased security is present in the airport and additional signage has been placed.
UK PM David Cameron today said that the safety of air passengers ‘must come first’ when commenting on the tightening of airport security across the UK amidst fears of possible terrorist attacks announced in Washington.
It is hoped that unnecessary delays are not caused, but it is clear that no risks can be taken with the threat of an attack plot from the Yemen and Syrian extremist groups.
Mr Cameron said, speaking to the BBC yesterday, “We take these decisions looking at the evidence in front of us and working with our partners. This is something we’ve discussed with the Americans and what we have done is put in place some extra precautions and extra checks. The safety of the travelling public must come first. We mustn’t take any risks with that. I hope this won’t lead to unnecessary delays but it’s very important that we always put safety first, and we do.”
For the time being, airport security measures will be tightened, although it is not yet clear to what extent. Significant disruption is expected, but airport security officials are working closely with the UK government to initiate procedures that keep delays to a minimum. Air passengers are advised to allow plenty of time to pass through security at the borders.
By the end of February passengers at McCarran International Airport will be able to apply for PreCheck, a scheme that will allow expedited check-in for up to five years at a cost of $85.
The scheme will be run by the Transportation Security Administration PreCheck Application Center, based in the Airport Terminal 1, and will follow more than 100 airports across the country that currently operate the screening program.
Passengers will apply for a Known Traveller Number, which will be granted after rigorous identity verification processes, fingerprinting and immigration status investigations, allaying fears from opposers of the scheme, who raised initial concerns about maintaining high security for airline passengers.
Once membership is granted, successful applicants will pay an $85 fee for a five-year period of expedited processing. PreCheck will allow passengers to pass through airport security without being held up by the usual process of removing their shoes for screening or without removing laptops and TSA-compliant liquids from their hand luggage.
Rosemary Vassiliadis, Director of aviation for Clark County welcomes the scheme, saying “At McCarran, our priority is a positive travel experience for passengers and expedited screening provides just that.”
A team comprising of representatives from the Canadian airport authorities and airlines has been formed to conduct a study with an aim to speed up the process of airport security screening. The Airport Pre-Board Screening Efficiency Team will focus upon ways to improve the speed of airport security screening without compromising the security of passengers.
In 2012, more than 51 million passengers, at 106 checkpoints and 311 screening lanes were screened by 5,400 screening officers at Canada’s airports; an improvement of 30% compared to 2010, from 90 to 120 passengers per lane, per hour during peak times.
Lisa Raitt, Canada’s Minister of Transport said, “I trust the Airport Pre Board Screening Efficiency Team will find efficiencies that can be implemented without undue cost to Canadian travellers. Transport Canada will provide appropriate supports to this team.”
As part of the expansion of Inverness Airport, a leading physical airport security company has installed a new access management system to help to streamline the process of managing staff and passengers.
CEM Systems, part of Tyco and ADT Fire & Security has installed their CEM AC2000 AE (Airport Edition) system, being the only access control system designed specifically for airport use.
Inverness boasts the largest airport in the Highlands and Scottish Islands and is a key location, processing more than 610,000 passengers every year.
Physical security systems are critical in airports to maintain safety and security of staff, crew and passengers, while increasing efficiency and productivity throughout the airport. The AC2000AE has a wide range of security features including check-in desk enabling, core access control, air-bridge monitors, passenger reconciliation and vehicle management to name but a few.
Philip Verner, Regional Sales Director for CEM Systems said, “Developed by working in consultation with airports for over 25 years, CEM AC2000 AE is the leading choice for airports around the world.”
Indmex Aviation and OPEN Inc have collaborated to offer an integrated solution for airport situational awareness and incident response, it has been announced today.
The companies will provide runway incursion warnings and a records information management system for airport first responders and hope to initiate integrated airport EMS incident response systems.
Scott Streicher, Operations Director for OPEN, the creators of SafetyPAD for Emergency Medical Services, which is already used by Fire and EMS teams at some of the worlds busiest airports, said “After speaking with airport operations directors and airport emergency responders, it was clear to us that there is an unmet need for solutions that solve ongoing challenges at airports resulting from increased operations by both aircraft and vehicles on the airport surface. With the INDMEX partnership, we will be able to fulfil that demand.”
The solution is hoped to boost security and accountability for airport personnel with vehicle and personnel tracking and can be deployed over a range of mobile devices.
Airport security providers, such as ARINC, offer technological solutions to integrated physical and advanced information security. The use of biometrics and other applications can serve to enhance monitoring capabilities of all system and subsystem activity.
Later this month, Edinburgh airport will introduce MFlow Journey as a part of the airport systems to track and monitor passenger movement through its terminals.
MFlow is one of the latest innovations in Human Recognition, and will take a (thankfully) anonymous image of each passengers face as they check-in. This enables the airport systems to measure the length of time it will take for each passenger to reach certain ‘check-points’.
MFlow Airport Systems
The analysis of the data will enable the airport systems to alert passenger management of any potential queue problems in advance, the idea being that the reduced time for the passenger queuing or waiting in a particular area of the terminal will increase the time the passenger will have for spending in the shopping areas, and therefore, maximizing profit potential for the airport, while enhancing the passenger experience as a whole.
Edinburgh Airport Systems
Head of IT for Edinburgh Airport, Graeme Agnew said, “As the system doesn’t rely on people carrying Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technology, we are able to collate highly accurate data on the movement of passengers through security screening and then make informed decisions about how we manage this area of the airport in the long term.”
After the devastating events of 9/11, the demand, and subsequent investment in airport perimeter security skyrocketed with an estimated 650 million U.S. dollars spent in that sector between 2001 and 2011.
Although the FAA shelled out $58 million in grants to improve safety, a recent Frost & Sullivan report expects a steep drop in demand for perimeter security in terms of new fencing and security systems in airports, as no new airports are expected to be built in the U.S. in the foreseeable future. Most works in the perimeter security sector will be repairs and refurbishments over the next five years and those will mostly be granted to local firms and suppliers, it is estimated.
“You will see some stagnation and a decline [in the market],” said John Hernandez, Frost & Sullivan senior aviation industry analyst, “It will never go up to the point it went up to after 9/11.” Mr Hernandez added that the security enhancement area of the industry sector, the area that provides security cameras, sensors and monitoring, could, “Look rosier.”