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ACI Advocates for Balanced Approach to Aviation Security and Public Health

  • 26 Nov 2020

Increasing the level of confidence in biosafety along the journey is one of the key factors to bring passengers back. Based on the recent ACI ASQ Global Traveler Survey, the majority of the respondents expect some health measures will be implemented the next time they visit an airport. 

 

In response to the evolving passenger expectations, airport operators have implemented a wide range of additional preventive and hygienic measures to ensure the health and wellbeing of passengers while traveling through the airport, especially in areas such as the security checkpoint where close interaction between passengers and staff may occur.  

 

Common measures 

Particular to airport security operations, some of the common measures implemented to minimize the risk of transmission at the security checkpoint include:

 

Covid-19 generic graphic

 

  • Mandatory wearing of PPE by screeners 
  • Physical distancing throughout the checkpoint 
  • Adjustment to current screening procedures to minimize physical contact with passengers 
  • Installation of plexiglass at the secondary bag search area 
  • Provision of hand sanitizers for passengers after screening 
  • Enhanced disinfection of security trays and equipment.  

Security challenges 

Despite minimizing the risk of transmission at the security checkpoint being of great priority, it is also equally important for airports to maintain the highest level of security at all times. The Regional Aviation Security Committee (RASC) identified a number of challenges for airport security operations when traffic gradually returns, including: 

 

  • Budgetary cutback on future security investment, e.g., deferral or suspension of security equipment upgrade, and security peoplepower, e.g., salary reduction or layoff
  • Aviation security resources being diverted to public health screening, e.g., security screeners being responsible for temperature check 
  • Possible new security risks due to COVID-19 e.g., insider threats due to employee layoff and concealment of prohibited items under PPE
  • Reduction in handling capacity of security checkpoint e.g., the various simulation analyses run by the ACI Smart Security programme estimate that the passenger handling capacity of airport security checkpoint could be reduced 30-70%, depending on the airport layout and operational models, if the 2-meter social distancing rule is applied.  

ACI Asia-Pacific will continue to assist airports in addressing these challenges and advocate to policy makers for a balanced approach to aviation security and public health in the restart and recovery phase.

CATEGORY
COUNTRY / AREA
Hong Kong SAR
AUTHOR
Gary LeungACI Asia-Pacific
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