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Fact Sheet: Aviation & Border Security

  • IATA’s aviation and border security strategy has been updated for 2014 to add the new approach of focusing more on outcomes from  threat-based, risk-management, than on implementation of control measures
  • Coordination and collaboration between regulators, airlines, airports and other key stakeholders has improved. To enhance the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of regulations and performance, this needs to accelerate. In particular, we should ensure:
    • Rigorous processes are established for analyzing the costs and benefits of any new regulation;
    • Regulations do not conflict with global standards where they exist;
    • Regulations are deliverable by the global industry and deliver the intended outcomes.
    • Collectively, we need to develop smarter and faster next-generation aviation and border security solutions for airline passengers and cargo customers alike.
    • Governments and industry partners must improve their readiness to manage emerging threats and the growth forecasts for passengers and cargo volumes.

Annual Industry Security Costs

  • Some governments are asking airlines to pay processing fees for passenger data that the governments require and introducing new or higher security charges to cover related processes.
  • Aviation security is an integral element of national security but it is also a huge contributor to national economies.
  • The industry accepts that aviation and border security is a business imperative and that operators have a responsibility to bear a reasonable proportion of the costs.
  • But IATA is opposed to the premise that industry, or its customers, pay for government processes.
  • Airlines pay in excess of $8.55 billion per year for aviation and border security.
  • In an effort to contain this amount, IATA is focusing on:
    • Resisting the imposition of new or higher taxes to cover the cost of government processes;
    • Eliminating requirements for redundant and duplicative requirements;
    • Reducing resource requirements by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of processes;
    • Greater recognition between States of the equivalence of national and air carrier security programs thereby reducing complexity, reducing the requirement for airlines to maintain multiple programs and reducing variations in training and audit programs. 

Advance Passenger Information

  • Advance Passenger Information (API) refers to passenger data (usually biographic information from a passport) transferred from the airline to a government authority
  • This is required by many governments for security, immigration and customs purposes
  • The cost of transferring data to authorities is approximately $14 per flight or more than $100 million annually. Furthermore, some countries charge airlines a fee in order to transmit API data.
  • International standards and guidelines are published by the World Customs Organization (WCO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and IATA, but not all regulators accept the standard format
  • New or differing requirements add to already significant development costs for airlines
  • Passengers and airlines need governments to harmonize requirements, eliminate duplication and use internationally agreed upon standards
  • In 2013, IATA in conjunction with ICAO and WCO, developed a toolkit to assist states with implementation of electronic passenger data programs.
    • Seminars sponsored by IATA have been a great success in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa to provide information about passenger data and roll out the toolkit.
    • Further seminars are planned in 2014 in South America, the Caribbean and again in Europe.
  • Work in 2014 will also refocus on the future of passenger data. This will include:
    • New and innovative methods of data transmission
    • The concept of a single window into governments for data
    • Innovative and broader-reaching use of data to maximise its benefit

Passenger Name Records

  • Many governments require access to Passenger Name Record (PNR) reservation data
  • PNR can contain sensitive personal information, raising data protection and privacy concerns
  • Bilateral agreements on the provision of PNR data have been reached between the EU, the US and several other key countries
  • IATA developed a standard format for PNR data to encourage harmonization and reduce costs (PNRGOV)
    • This has been adopted by ICAO and WCO
    • New Zealand, Canada, United States, and the UK have similarly endorsed this format.

Smart Security (formerly Checkpoint of the Future)

  • Current passenger and cabin baggage screening is based on a 40-year old paradigm: finding metal objects to prevent hijackings. This system has created long queues and inconvenienced passengers, but has generally not resulted in higher detection levels of threatening objects: As new security measures are added into the mix, throughput rates are falling, and the system can’t handle the forecast growth in traffic.
  • IATA and ACI, in conjunction with industry and government partners, have joined efforts to develop Smart Security:
    • Our vision is to improve the journey from curb to airside, where passengers proceed through security checkpoints with minimal inconvenience, where security resources are allocated based on risk, and where airport facilities can be optimized.
    • The objectives are: to strengthen security, to increase operational efficiency, and to improve the passenger experience.
    • Smart Security replaces the Checkpoint of the Future. The name change reflects the start of a new phase of end-to-end pilot testing involving a first wave of next generation screening solutions. The renaming to Smart Security also signals the shift from being an IATA-led project to an industry-led initiative with strong participation of governments.
    • A roadmap has been developed, taking an evolutionary approach that brings immediate benefits in the near term, while driving towards more profound changes in the longer term:
      • The 2014 model focuses on the introduction of new and innovative technologies and procedures that maximize the opportunities presented by the existing checkpoint configuration, while taking the first steps towards passenger differentiation and a more sophisticated use of unpredictability.
      • The 2017 model incorporates updated technologies and procedures that significantly increase the security value of the checkpoint, while maintaining a strong focus on customer service to enable high passenger satisfaction. It is estimated there will be major advances in passenger risk assessment capability and dynamic delivery of results to the checkpoint combined with greater automation and resultant cost efficiencies.
      • The 2020 model achieves the vision of passengers being able to flow through the security checkpoint with minimal wait time and interruption unless the advanced technology or procedures identity a potential threat. “One size fits all” approaches and thinking will be replaced by “risk based screening” methodologies.
  • The Smart Security solution rests on three pillars:
      • Focusing security resources on where the greatest risk is, both in terms of the passenger (i.e., passenger differentiation) and in terms of the threat;
      • Advancements in screening technology;
      • Process innovation.
  • Since 2012, solution components have been tested individually. Under Smart Security, several components will be tested together to see how they interact with one another in an operational environment. The first two pilot sites that are deploying Smart Security solutions in 2014 are Amsterdam Schiphol and London Heathrow.

Security Management Systems (SeMS)

  • IATA’s SeMS provides airlines with a risk-based framework to create a security culture
  • 243 IATA member airlines and 129 non-IATA airlines have implemented SeMS
  • The IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) includes SeMS
  • Regulators are increasingly making SeMS part of national aviation security policy
  • Bahrain, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Egypt, Lebanon, Madagascar, Mexico, Panama, Syria and Turkey have mandated IOSA and the SeMS core elements

One-Stop Security

  • IATA supports the recognition of equivalence and One-Stop Security.
  • One-stop security is one possible approach resulting from recognition of equivalence, but IATA believes there are other potential benefits or approaches that involve removing unnecessary duplications and inefficiencies.
  • Where mutual agreement between States is not possible, relevant or practical, this should not prevent one of the States recognizing the others’ security measures
  • Indeed, IATA promotes the unilateral recognition approach e.g. OSS implemented from the US-EU.
  • Even for unilateral OSS, IATA encourages both the States to:
    • Enter into discussions leading to an arrangement,
    • Exchange information on their national civil aviation security programs and
    • Agree on quality control activities and oversight.
  • IATA is committed to further development of guidance material and working with States to identity and to bring to fruition new arrangements.

 Liquids, Aerosols and Gels (LAG)

  • IATA recognizes the threat posed by LAGS
  • IATA supports the easing of LAGS restrictions through the introduction of screening procedures in an internationally coordinated manner
    • This is necessary to avoid confusion for passengers and all relevant staff.
  • The three key conditions to be met for the introduction of new LAGs security controls are:
    • Conduct of an impact assessment to take account of the value-added from the perspectives of improved security, the value-added to the passenger experience and the total (direct and indirect) cost.
    • The measures shall be practical, internationally coordinated and recognized – so as to avoid further confiscation of LAGs at transfer points
    • The efficiency of the security checkpoint, passenger throughput and the passenger experience must not be adversely impacted.
  • Together with the TSA, European Commission, Canada and Australia, IATA is a signatory of the Statement of Intent on LAGs screening that commits to progressive introduction of screening procedures.
  • Relevant communications to the traveling public need to be based on standard, internationally agreed-upon messages.


Updated: May 2014


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