Aviation security is one of the most sensitive and challenging areas within the world of security. Due to its international nature, the characteristics of the activities it entails, the psychological impact and the media interest a hijacking of an aircraft, a mid-air explosion or a murderous attack at an airport generates, civil aviation comprises one of the most attractive targets in the eyes of terror organizations.
Aviation security encompasses a range of proactive activities, whose goal is to prevent terrorists or other hostile elements from boarding aircraft and from smuggling weapons and explosives onboard, as well as to protect the airport and those arriving at its gates from attempts to harm them; to prevent theft and to prevent attempts to sabotage airport and airline assets or to use them without authorization.
Security plans must also enable the organization to effectively and efficiently deal with emergency situations, and to subsequently resume routine operation with minimal delay.
An effective security operation deters potential adversaries from carrying out attacks, yet does not hamper airport and airline operation and does not cause discomfort to passengers and other persons arriving at the airport.
- Security it not a goal in itself, but rather a means intended to enable the airport and the airlines to maintain routine operation, and fulfill their defined missions, goals and objectives.
- Security must be adapted to meet the specific threats faced by the airport / airline and by each of its facilities and interests that require protection.
- The security system will be based both on trained manpower and on advanced security technologies. The appropriate blend and balance between the two will be adapted to the nature of the activity carried out by each organization, and of its facilities.
- Security activities will be conducted in full coordination with the local and state authorities, and will fully comply with relevant laws.
- The security activities will comply with the standards established by relevant bodies responsible for providing professional guidance (Police, Ministry for Environmental Protection, etc.).
- The security plan will meet international aviation security standards and regulatory requirements.
- The security plan will take into account budgetary and other constraints.
Goals and Objectives
- Primary goal: To develop and consolidate a security concept and plan that will blend in with airlines’ and airports’ activity patterns while preserving their welcoming, civilian identity, and allow them to provide their customers with high quality service.
- To protect the lives of the passengers, airline and airport employees and other persons present at the airport.
- To comply with accepted international aviation security standards.
- The security plan will include a contingency plan and the means required to ensure continuity of operations.
The security concept and plan encompass all the activities through which a person may penetrate the secured areas of the airport or an aircraft, or smuggle weapons or explosives onboard. These include security handling of passengers and baggage, commercial cargo, catering and other supplies brought onto the airliner, fuel and maintenance equipment, as well as flight safety and employee reliability.
Risk analysis in aviation security comprises the following four components:
(1) Risk assessment: The full range of activities carried out to assess and grade the threats and risks faced by the airport / airline, to analyze the adversary’s possible modes of operation (PMOs) and present the gaps between the existing and the desired situation – from the viewpoints of the suitability and quality of the security response, its cost-effectiveness and compatibility with the airport’s and/or airline’s nature and operation.
(2) Risk management: Presentation of the optimal proactive security response to the risk – the optimal security concept and security plan, tailored to meet the particular needs of the airport and/or airline.
(3) Risk communication: Presentation of the intra- and extra-organizational communication activities required to enable the implementation of the security plan, i.e., a description of the activities required to create an appropriate “perception” of the risk among position holders (so that it will not be perceived as overly threatening on the one hand; but will generate the suitable amount of attention, on the other hand), and of the activities required in order to ensure the optimal cooperation of the employees and management. Risk communication will be conducted vis-à-vis the official bodies whose cooperation is essential to the successful implementation of the security plan, as well as the employee and executive populations.
(4) Compliance with international standards: IATA, TSA, ICAO, etc.
To be successful, security activities must be effective yet be executed in a cordial manner, blend in with the airport’s and/or airline’s operation and preserve its civilian, business-oriented character.