AVSEC World panel discusses developments over the past 12 months

Terrorists may have shifted activity to crude tactics such as firearm, knife and vehicle attacks to injure and kill innocent people around the world over the last year, but the aviation community and states still have not made necessary progress in significantly increasing aviation security levels since the 25th AVSEC World Conference, a panel of security and safety experts has agreed.

A need for the aviation community to build a security culture remains

In a session entitled What has changed since the last AVSEC World?, speakers cast doubt on whether the Conflict Zone Repository (CZR)—intended to provide a centralized bank of information about risks posed to civil aviation operations over or near conflict zones—was adequately fulfilling its mission.

A need for the aviation community to build a security culture remains, as does the need for a closer alignment between aviation’s security and safety entities.

Drones have become a more significant, and dangerous, player on the landscape.

 I think we need to try to move away from the terminology ‘conflict zone’

Addressing concerns around the ICAO-sponsored CZR, panelist Kas Beumkes, Senior Safety Expert, ICAO, said that changes to the existing approach were being formulated by a task force to improve and standardize the reporting format that states are to use to report risks to civil aircraft.

“I invite you, the audience, to come forward with examples that you think may be helpful to…a structured format that could be shared in the future to share information,” Beumkes said.

“Firstly, I think we need to try to move away from the terminology ‘conflict zone’,” said Andrew Nicholson, CEO, Osprey Flight Solutions.

“In my view, it is not overly helpful when discussing threats to civil aviation in flight, as the proliferation of weapons that pose a threat to civil aviation has meant that over-flight risk is present in areas that are not traditionally defined as conflict zones.”

In the last 12 months, Nicholson said, shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles had been recovered in countries that were “not covered by warnings from any civil aviation entity and are not defined as conflict zones.”

Summing up current conditions, Kaarlo Karvonen, Head of Security, Finnair, and Chair of the IATA Security Group, said: “We just need to get things done.

"In aviation, we tend to be pragmatic, and in the IATA safety group, I will be urging that we need to get things done.”

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