Global aviation security must be threat-based, risk-managed, multi-layered and operationally consistent to be effective, says the chairman of TIACA’s Industry Affairs Committee.
Whilst acknowledging that security and safety underpin everything in the worldwide air cargo industry, Ulrich Ogiermann, also the President & CEO of Cargolux, said security agencies should understand and make the best use of the resources and expertise which other global trade and transport operators have developed and are constantly enhancing to meet their own exacting commercial and security requirements.
TIACA is calling for the coordination and harmonization of security controls on a worldwide basis to avoid the multiplicity of regulations the industry is currently faced with.
He said: “Responses to threats should be managed as far as possible to sustain high levels of consistent vigilance and to avoid sudden calls for extreme caution without helpful guidance as to the form of the threat. Restrictions and controls should be reasonably and visibly related to the threats they are intended to counter. While sudden, unexpected developments could justify urgent unilateral action, broad security strategy and related legislation should be based on systematic consultation with relevant and responsible business interests. We would also like to see further consultation on national legislation that often has significant extra-territorial effects, for example the introduction of import controls.”
He recognized the efforts of the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that has been actively working with TIACA to inform the air cargo industry about US legislative requirements coming into force in February 2009 that mandate screening for 50% of all air cargo that is transported on a passenger aircraft. This will be increased to 100% by August 2010.
TIACA’s representative in Washington, Sue Presti, has been in regular dialogue with TSA and the US Government has participated in TIACA events to inform delegates about its plans and to invite the views of industry executives. Most recently, Edward J. Kelly, General Manager for Cargo Transportation at the TSA was one of the keynote speakers at TIACA’s Air Cargo Forum & Exposition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in early November. Mr Kelly informed attendees that the 50% and 100% screening requirements would be applied not only to flights originating in the United States but also to those inbound to the US from other countries. He indicated that many details have still to be fleshed out regarding application of the screening standards to inbound flights and TIACA intends to work with TSA on this issue and to communicate essential developments to its members.
In a new policy statement put together by the Association’s Industry Affairs Committee, TIACA states: Consistently high standards of physical and data security, reflected in compliance records and regular audit results, should secure simplified processing for formally authorized traders, carriers and intermediaries. The aim should be to bring market forces behind control systems. Such arrangements should avoid requirements for fixed periods of previously recorded activity. Associated exclusion from simplified procedures will add unjustifiable extra handicaps to start-up operations, particularly significant among small and medium sized enterprises.
The highest standards of operational security and safety are inherent in the very nature of air transport and have for many years been subject to the most stringent international regulation by ICAO and other inter-governmental authorities.
In the present special climate of anti-terrorist security legislation, TIACA says it is extremely important for national and international regulators to distinguish between the scope and nature of incidents experienced and threats reasonably foreseen in respect of passenger and cargo operations.
TIACA will actively support measures that are proven to improve airport and air cargo security. New initiatives, however, must be effective, workable, and affordable and create a minimum of disruption to the flow of air cargo that has to set its core advantage of speed in flight within a consistent context of rapid reliable delivery. Failure to meet these objectives will create an environment where transport and, therefore, trade is disrupted.
If security procedures frustrate and devalue these air cargo characteristics the now large proportion – at least 30% by value - of international trade that depends on just-in time movement of materials, components and products is bound to be disrupted, along with the inter-continental overnight express delivery services that are now an essential business and administrative facility.