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Leading Providers of Airport & Facility Infrastructure SecurityAs the growing concerns in the airports industry reaches fever pitch over security, it is this week revealed that there have been instances of ex-airport personnel using their security badges to gain access to secure areas of an airport environment.

Airport staff and contractors are not screened in the same way as passengers and this can lead to breaches in security, which must remain secure and reliably protected, particularly high-security areas such as concourses, ramps and the tarmac.

As these issues increase, airports are looking to the infrastructure security industry to make full use of the latest technology, which does reduce time spent screening and monitoring these secure areas. Using a collaborative approach with software solutions can mean that identity records are monitored in real-time and even anomalous facility access patterns can be recognised quickly.

Access and infrastructure security providers, such as Rockwell Collins’ ARINC AIM solution, can offer enhanced access security across the entire airport environment, while keeping costs manageable and reducing the workload on currently already stretched personnel.

Improving Airport Security with Biometric Solutions ProvidersAlthough the world’s major airports are stepping up security for passengers and employees, a top airport official, speaking at Los Angeles International Airport still thinks that it may not be enough to stop the ‘lone wolf’ slipping through the net.

Mr Patrick Gannon, police chief of LAX, said that 54,000 employees undergo recurring security screening, including criminal background checks, but believes that this may not be enough. He said, “I agree that in any airport throughout the United States and here also, there is never a 100% guarantee that somebody who wanted to do something illegal or wrong couldn’t make that happen.”

Just two of the U.S. airports, Orlando and Miami, require all personnel that have access to secure areas of the airport to pass through metal detectors, with other major airports conducting random checks. Often airport personnel undergo the bare minimum before being hired, such as a criminal background check.

The debate has been raised since the arrest of the Delta baggage handler at the end of last year at Jackson International Airport for gun smuggling alongside a passenger.

Mr Gannon is concerned about the process of screening airport staff and the risk of a single member of staff being overlooked. Miami airport security director, Lauren Stover agrees that ID badges and swipe cards are not enough to guarantee the eradication of the likelihood of contraband or a person with malicious intent getting through security access doors.

The debate continues as airports around the world aim to stamp out the threat of terrorist attack. As employees could be targeted by organisations, regular and constant screening is the only answer and is held back by cost implications on a broad scale.

Improving Personnel Access SecurityPassenger security improvements are highlighted this week as the world resumes business travel after the holiday break. As the industry as a whole tightens security across the world’s borders, the question must be raised about the lengths airports are prepared to go to to improve security for personnel access when Atlanta airport admit that 150 guns were smuggled onto aircraft over a seven-month period last year.

A Delta Airlines baggage handler was involved in a smuggling operation that saw guns carried through secure areas of Atlanta Airport to find their way onto the streets of New York.

This clearly demonstrates that personnel access measures need to be tightened in order to ensure that passengers and crew are safe. Airport personnel should be screened in the same way as passengers, say the authorities, and airports should be encouraged to put security measures in place.

Airport security providers offer critical infrastructure protection across the board, and solutions are available to ensure that access control can be regulated throughout the airport environment – for passengers, airline staff and also for information security.

Passengers need the reassurance that staff are screened just as effectively as they are themselves and the instances of smuggling simply highlight the grey areas of airport security.