IATA calls for stronger safety measures

MIAMI, 4 March 2019:  The aviation industry and governments need to work more closely together to keep airline travel safe in the face of evolving security threats, according to the International Air Transport Association.

On one hand IATA is forecasting passenger demand will double by 2037 to 8.5 billion, but on the other admits more needs to be done to ensure flying remain safe and secure.

“Flying is secure. But keeping it that way is not an easy task. Threats are evolving. The geopolitical landscape is complex. Technology is rapidly changing and the volumes of travellers keep growing,” IATA’s director general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, told a gathering of aviation experts attending the AVSEC World conference in Miami, Florida.

“Global standards and collaboration — among governments and industry — is the bedrock of our continued success,” said the IATA CEO.

IATA urged stakeholders to focus on global standards, information-sharing, risk-based analysis and emerging threats to secure aviation for decades to come.

Global Standards

Global standards for aviation security were agreed by governments through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and are codified in Annex 17 of the Chicago Convention.

“It’s been 45 years since Annex 17 was added to the Chicago Convention. Still, far too many states are struggling to implement the Annex 17 baseline requirements.

“A weakness anywhere in the system affects everyone. The goal is 100% implementation. There is an urgent need for developed countries to provide more comprehensive assistance to developing countries to ensure the baseline security measures are met,” said de Juniac.

Information Sharing

“Threats will continue to evolve and become ever more complex. Those wishing to do aviation harm have no state allegiance; they cross borders to share information and collaborate to refine their methods of causing chaos and destruction. The focus of governments must be on protecting people. And that cannot be done with insular thinking. We must get better at sharing information,” he said.

Sustainable Risk-Based Solutions

“In the years since 9.11 investment in aviation security has grown exponentially. There is no doubt that this has made flying more secure. But the efficiency of the system needs to be constantly challenged. Governments need to pursue risk-based security concepts that focus resources where the need is greatest,” said de Juniac.

Critical areas to address

Securely vetting the millions of airport and airline staff who have access to aircraft.

Ending extra-territorial measures that often require airlines to take on government responsibilities.

Improving the security experience for passengers, even as the number of passengers is set to double over the next two decades.

Adapting to new security threats

IATA called for greater government and industry attention on emerging threats, including cyber threats.

“The digital transformation of the airline industry holds immense promise. But we must ensure that our aviation systems remain safe, secure and resilient against cyber-attack. Constructive dialogue and timely information-sharing among industry, technology providers and governments will be critical if we are to achieve this,” said de Juniac.