The security of global air transport operations took an important step forward this week, with a series of new agreements and recommendations being forged during the 2018 ICAO AVSEC Week by world aviation security administrations and bodies.
More than 500 delegates representing 107 countries and 22 international organizations participating in ICAO’s Second High-level Conference on Aviation Security (HLCAS/2) finalized recommendations for new security standards and strategies to be reviewed by the 40th ICAO Assembly next year. These recommendations were reflected in the HLCAS/2 Communiqué<https://www.icao.int/Meetings/HLCAS2/Documents/HLCAS2%20Communique.pdf> endorsed by the high-level delegates in attendance.
The conference was opened by the President of the Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu in conjunction with Canada’s Deputy Minister of Transport Mr. Michael Keenan.
In his opening remarks, the President of the Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, highlighted the importance of information sharing and that “the present threat environment is more dynamic, diverse, and challenging than ever before.” He tasked HLCAS/2 participants with defining security measures which are effective, efficient, operationally viable, and economically sustainable, recognizing as well the important need to assess the impacts of any considered measures on air transport’s much more prevalent low-risk passengers.
Areas of focus he stressed in this regard included threats from insiders and Remotely-piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) attacks, and cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
“Our message to the world could not be clearer,” underscored ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu in her closing remarks to the conference. “ICAO, its Member States, the industry and our other partners are addressing the threat to civil aviation with great determination, ambition, and unity of purpose.”
She also focused on the importance of striking an effective balance between the effectiveness of security measures and their impacts on the air transport customer base, noting that “from the consumers’ standpoint, it is nothing short of vital that we address security risks with solutions which pose a minimum of passenger or shipper inconvenience. Any other approach will not be sustainable.”
In closing, Dr. Liu reminded the experts and senior officials present that “the true measure of our AVSEC success lies ultimately in the successful and sustainable prevention of unlawful interference with civil aviation.”
The HLCAS/2 was preceded by ICAO’s Global Aviation Security Symposium (AVSEC2018), where industry, academic and government experts collectively addressed security innovation and implementation priorities.