The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) submitted a report to the Government today on an event involving the handling of a piece of unattended cabin baggage on 27 March and 28 March 2016.
AAHK prepared the report with reference to the airport’s duty report and closed circuit television footages, as well as reports provided by the Aviation Security Company Limited (AVSECO) and Cathay Pacific Airways respectively. The report looks into the question of whether aviation security was compromised during the event.
The report affirms that aviation security requirements were not compromised during the event. From AAHK’s perspective, the key is that both the baggage and the airline staff carrying the baggage into the restricted area had passed the required security screening.
The report lists the security screening procedures for personnel and baggage to enter the restricted area, which are established according to international and local aviation security requirements. All cabin baggage shall go through x-ray security screening. Only when there is any restricted article present or suspected to be present will AVSECO confirm the ownership of the baggage and conduct a secondary search on the baggage in the presence of the owner.
According to the sequence of the event as provided in the report, after an AVSECO staff member detected the unattended bag close to Check-in Aisle B, the stipulated security check (explosive trace detection) was carried out on the bag. The result of the check confirmed no indication of explosive trace. With the assistance of the airline, the ownership of the bag was verified and AVSECO released the bag to an airline staff. The airline staff, who possessed a valid Airport Restricted Area permit, carried the bag into the restricted area after passing through security screening for the staff member and the bag. As no restricted article was found present or suspected to be present in that security screening of the bag, there was no requirement for a secondary search and the presence of the owner was therefore not required. The bag was subsequently returned to the owner.
The report also mentions AAHK’s established procedures for the handling of lost and found property, which allow AAHK staff and the relevant contractor, subject to availability of manpower, to provide courtesy delivery of found property to its established owner. These procedures include taking found property into the restricted area. For the period March 2015 to March 2016 some 517 courtesy deliveries of items were recorded. Items including travel documents, bags, wallets, clothing and electronic items were taken into the restricted area and returned to their owners after the required security screening.
AAHK recognises that appropriate handling of lost and found property is essential in promoting customer service at the airport without compromising airport and aviation security. Whether airlines choose to provide courtesy delivery of found property to their passengers in the restricted area depends on their own discretion. Provided that airlines comply with airport security screening requirements, airlines do not require approval from AVSECO or AAHK to provide such service. As part of the regular review and enhancement of customer service at the airport, AAHK will review and fine tune the existing handling procedures of airlines for lost and found items.