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‘Aviation security more important than ever’

Jun 05 2017 18:53
Carin Smith

Cancun – Security has never before been so important in the aviation industry. This was emphasised by Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (Iata), in his opening speech at the industry body’s 73rd AGM, taking place in Cancun, Mexico.

He said among the challenges faced by the global aviation industry at the moment are mounting security threats, a looming infrastructure crisis and smarter regulation coming under pressure.

“Today security dominates headlines. The freedom that is at the core of aviation remains a target for terrorists. That was clear in the UN Security Council Resolution, which reconfirmed that states have more to do in fulfilling their responsibility to keep their citizens secure when traveling by plance,” said De Juniac.

“Keeping our passengers and crew safe and secure is our top priority. While that creates a natural partnership with governments on security, the relationship is showing cracks.”

He pointed out that in March the US and UK banned electronic devices in the cabin on flights from some Middle Eastern and African airports. He emphasised that this was done without consulting the industry first and allowing little time for implementation.

In his view, this should not be the way things are done as it tests the confidence of the industry and the public. And it is this confidence which to him is critical for success in dealing with security challenges.

“Airlines will never compromise on security,” said De Juniac.

Iata estimates that taking electronic devices from passengers in the ban led to a loss of $180m in lost productivity for passengers and this could increase to $1.2bn if the ban is expanded to flights from Europe to the US.

“We need to get security right. Measures must be logical, effective and efficient – which is not the case with the current ban,” he added. Iata would like to see this ban changed.

According to De Juniac, security is ultimately the responsibility of governments as they have the resources and information and they set the rules. At the same times airlines have the operational expertise.

That is why Iata is calling for “robust dialogue” with governments with regard to aviation security.

*Fin24 is a guest of Iata at its AGM.

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