‘Air cargo weak point in aviation security’
Dubai, June 4, 2008
A leading aviation risk expert has urged Middle East airport operators to “think the unthinkable” when it comes to security in the air and on the ground in order to stay “one step ahead of the bad guys.”
Vice-president of Aviation Safety for engineering, safety and risk company ESR Technology John Pottinger, speaking at the Airport Show conference in Dubai, also identified air cargo as a potential weak point in aviation security which could be exploited by terrorists worldwide.
“Some nasty surprises may be in store for us if we don’t start thinking ingenuously about risk factors before the bad guys think of them before us,” said Pottinger predicting possible security and safety scenarios for the next decade.
He emphasised the strategic and economic importance of innovative thinking.
“We mustn’t just base our assessments of risk factors, whether from terrorist threats or air safety, on the basis of past events,” he added. “We must ponder the possibilities and implications of the kind of safety and security issues that are not generally forecast but the aviation industry may well face in the next decade.”
The Arabian Gulf is facing an unprecedented increase in air traffic volumes and needs to invest heavily to ensure the region's unblemished safety standards are retained both when aircraft are on the ground and in the sky, Pottinger said.
The region is under pressure to meet predicted growth with airport projects and expansions now underway in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia airport industry put at over $68 billion, according to ESR Technology, which is undergoing major business expansion as the region's aviation industry booms.
ESR Technology’s expertise in the sector cover security and includes airspace collision risk modeling; airside capacity studies; airport and air traffic management safety and risk management; aerodrome safeguarding; reliability based inspection; business continuity and emergency and contingency planning.
“In the area of potential threats, he said that while security had improved for passenger aircraft, the same could not be said for cargo planes, an increasingly important sector of the aviation industry. “There are quite literally dozens of airports worldwide without adequate security and where the wrong people can gain access to aircraft,” he added.
“That’s why I say we must think the unthinkable so that we can try and stay one step ahead of the bad guys. We must be as ingenuous and as innovative as they are in finding the weak links in existing systems before they do.” – TradeArabia News Service