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SA aviation experts unpack security issues

Sep 15 2016 14:33

Johannesburg - The threats facing civil aviation security have changed dramatically over recent years and require collaboration among role-players in order to remain a yard ahead of those behind terror attacks.

This is according to Poppy Khoza, head of the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), who addressed about 200 delegates attending an inaugural annual aviation security event in Kempton Park.
 
“The challenge in countering aviation security in recent years is that perpetrators have become more sophisticated in their approach and this has necessitated a refined approach from aviation security specialists," said Khoza.

"Terror tactics have evolved and we cannot rely on old methods to counter new and emerging threats. We ought to collaborate, coordinate and communicate to better equip ourselves to save the lives of many innocent people.”
 
Khoza, who is also the chair of the aviation security panel of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao), said those responsible for aviation security should be mindful of the emerging trends relating to terror attacks, which now include, among others, cyber and insider threat.

READ: 'Debilitating' skills shortage in SA aviation

“The aviation security fraternity cannot overlook the implications of the theft of information and intelligence, which could find its way into the hands of those who would want to cause mayhem. The more we try to innovate, the higher the risks we attract," she emphasised.

"This means that risk assessment ought to be continuous and mitigated appropriately as those with ill intentions are watching every move to identify gaps they can exploit.”
 
Khoza said that, while the increase in passenger numbers is good for economic growth, there are others that regard it as an ideal target for terror attacks.

Other presenters, which include local and international experts, delved into other areas of concern including the risk posed by remotely piloted aircraft system, commonly known as drones. Landside security is another topic that stimulated dialogue during the seminar.

Dialogue also focused on new and emerging threats in civil aviation security and counter measures that should be implemented such as behaviour detection and the profile of the terrorist.
 
SACAA said it continuously reviews security measures at South African airports to ensure that they meet both local and international legislative requirements. South Africa, through the SACAA, gets intermittently audited by reputable international organisations on many and varied aspects of civil aviation administration, which among others, include security systems.

All the audits to date have indicated that South Africa is compliant with global prescripts and have in a few instances exceeded requirements.

ALSO READ: Cyber security a 'growing threat' in aviation

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