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ACI calls for solutions to relieve ban on carriage of large electronic items in the aircraft cabin

April 12, 2017 Airport No Comments Email Email

The recent ban on electronic items in the aircraft cabin by the United States and the United Kingdom for flights coming from selected airports has again highlighted the challenges that the industry faces in the current security climate.

Airports, along with industry partners and governments, put security as a top priority and understand the need to implement measures rapidly when a heightened threat level is identified. However, information sharing and coordination on security measures among governments and with the industry is also crucial to ensure effective security. In particular, inconsistency in the application of security measures does not lead to security effectiveness and may result in simply moving the threat to other locations rather than addressing it. In the present case, it also leads to passenger confusion and results in commercial distortions not just for airlines but also for airports.

Reviewing the ban, the Airports Council International (ACI) World Governing Board yesterday called for urgent consideration for alternative solutions. In the short term, these might include additional explosive detection capability deployed at boarding gates, and/or the use of ‘state of the art’ technology for cabin baggage screening. In this regard, the ACI Governing Board failed to understand why proposals made by Istanbul Ataturk Airport have not been considered.

Beyond this case, it is critical that States work with industry and security equipment manufacturers to enable a collaborative approach to implementing sustainable, cost effective advanced screening systems and solutions that are suitable for use in both large and small airport environments, support research and development and streamline certification processes.

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 2309 recognized the need for coordinated international efforts to strengthen aviation security and supported the development by the International Civil Aviation Organization of a Global Aviation Security Plan. This, with proposed amendments to Annex 17 of the Chicago convention to be discussed this month, will be vital to ensuring that timely information is shared between industry and governments and that appropriate measures can be implemented in a more coordinated and planned manner in future.

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