Most of the 325 million people that connect every year at hub airports are screened twice today: at departure, and again when they change flights. This is mostly due to poor cooperation on the part of governments. “One-stop security” is the concept of screening people for prohibited items once, at the beginning of their journey only.
Connecting flights central to carriers’ operations
One quarter of the passengers at large airports today are actually in transfer – using the airport to get from one flight to another. Quick and efficient connections are at the heart of the hub and spokes system put in place by network carriers. But at the moment, precious time, efforts and resources are being wasted by re-screening transfer passengers.
“One-stop security” is not a new concept
Europe has implemented one-stop security for a decade and now also exempts connecting passengers arriving from the US from re-screening. Unfortunately, the concept has failed to move outside of that region, partly because of the elevated security measures put in place after 9/11. ICAO has agreed that one-stop security and mutual recognition are strategic objectives which should be pursued.
Putting “One-stop security” back on the agenda
According to ICAO guidance material, States should compare their legislation, assess whether their standards are equivalent to each other and if so, conclude agreements or Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with each other. Countries that are mature enough in terms of their security systems should increase their cooperation. Europe and Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong, or Australia and New Zealand, are obvious examples of areas where passengers could and would benefit from one-stop security.