Home' Asian Aviation : AAV Dec Jan 2010 Contents Security
Emma Kelly / Perth
Cargo security in the spotlight
after explosive discovery
Aviation security is once again
in the spotlight, following the
discovery in late October of two
explosive devices in airfreight
shipments originating in Yemen.
Airlines are now urging
government agencies and regulators to work with
the aviation industry to ensure any new security
measures are e ective in securing the supply chain,
while steering clear of kne e-jerk reactions. e
explosive devices, found in a UPS freighter at East
Midlands International Airport in the UK and a
FedEx facility in Dubai, are believed to have been
intended to detonate in ight.
" e events in Yemen have put cargo security at
the top of our agenda," says Giovanni Bisignani,
director general and chief executive o cer of the
International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Bisignani highlighted the economic importance of
air freight at IATA's AVSEC security conference in
Frankfurt in November.
"Airfreight drives the world e conomy. The
products that we carry represent 35 percent of
the total value of goods traded internationally," he
said. In 2009, airlines carried 26 million tonnes of
international cargo, with this expected to increase
to 38 million tonnes by 2014. "Transporting these
goods safely, securely and e ciently is critical,"
IATA belie ves four principles should drive
air-cargo security programmes -- a supply-chain
approach, technolog y, e-freight and risk. Bisignani
said the whole supply chain -- from manufacturer
to airport -- has responsibility for security
"The supply-chain approach must
be driven by government and industry
co -operation on investment, processes,
technology and risk assessment. Many
countries, including the UK and US, have
advanced supply-chain solutions," he said.
IATA's Se cure Freight programme,
which is aimed at simplifying cargo
supply chain security at the same time
as meeting government requirements, is
part of the industry's e orts to address the
supply chain. According to the airline association,
the programme envisions an air cargo industry
comprising certi ed, secure operators, in secure
supply chains, operating to international cargo
security standards recognised by relevant state
Technolog y such as airport scre ening should
not be the rst line of defence, but is an e ective
complement to intelligence and supply- chain
solutions, IATA believes.
"Currently there is no government- cer tified
technology to screen standard-size pallets and large
items," Bisignani said, adding that although there is
some promising technolog y, it is taking too long to
get into ser vice. "We must speed up the process."
IATA also believes its e-freight programme,
which is aimed at driving paper out of the air-
cargo industry and replacing it with electronic
documentation that allows on-line tracking and
tracing, ha s a part to play in improving cargo
"By converting some 20 freight documents to
an electronic format, we are improving e ciency
and providing the tool for accurate insight into
who is shipping what and where," the IATA chief
said. "As the industry increases e-freight volumes,
governments must expand the use of e-freight from
inbound shipments to outbound as well, and use
this data to intelligently manage freight security."
Industry has co -operated with governments
to help mitigate risks identified through their
intelligence operations, but IATA warns against
any knee-jerk reactions.
"It is still early days. Industry is co -operating
with government directives on targeted actions
for Yemen-origin cargo. If there are any longer-
term adjustments required, we must do so with all
the facts in hand, with measures targeted to meet
speci c risks," said Bisignani.
IATA suggests that one area that needs to be
addressed in particular is modernising the 40-year
old airport screening process. IATA plans to lead a
global e ort to build an airport checkpoint of the
future, which will both tighten security and ease
"Belts, shoes and shampoos are not the problem.
We must shi the screening focus from looking
for bad objects to nding terrorists. To do this
e ectively we need intelligence and technolog y at
the checkpoint. e enormous amount of data that
we collect on passengers can help governments to
identify risks," Bisignani said.
Data is critical to aviation security, IATA believes,
as it can help governments to vet travellers and
identify threats. Governments have agreed, through
ICAO, to global standards for data and a process to
collect that information, but not all governments
are following these standards.
is is adding to the US$5.9 billion that airlines
already spend annually on security, Bisignani noted.
New data requirements in India , China , South
Korea and Mexico will all add further costs and
drain resources, without improving security, he
Like IATA, the Association of Asia Pacific
Airlines (AAPA) urges that any new security
measures are practical, cost e ective and
sustainable, with the aviation industry
already spending tens of billions of dollars
annually on security. AAPA members
are among the leaders in the global air
cargo industry, carrying 40 percent of the
world's air freight.
"New se curity procedures are only
justi ed when it can be demonstrated
that the bene ts outweigh the additional
burdens they impose on society," said
AAPA Director General Andrew
International cargo traffic is expected to reach
38 million tonnes by 2014, according to IATA.
14 AsianAviation | DECEMBER 2010 / JANUARY 2011
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