Like the airline industry, it seems as if the airport industry is moving towards consolidation and more airport cooperation and alliances seem likely in the future. (Graham, 2003)
One approach in which civil aviation can contribute in ensuring peace amid the countries of the world is principally through its key role of facilitating communication and international discourse. The ICAO -- International Civil Aviation Organization has played a large part in achieving this to a great extent. Article 44 of the Chicago Convention charges ICAO to work towards aiding the global community for the development of civil aviation in an economic, safe and orderly manner. A Rapid Response Team on Airport Security was formed under the DOT -- Department of Transportation of the United States. The initiative of ICAO for ensuring harmony and peace in the field of aviation is largely accomplished through its Council which has its origin in the Interim Council of the Provisional International Civil Aviation Organization -- PICAO. (Abeyratne, 2003)
For reforming the nation's aviation security system, the Team in its meeting of 1st October, 2001, recommended that the following measures should be put in practice as soon as possible: (a) setting up of a new federal security agency, which would be housed within the DOT; (b) integration of national security intelligence data and law enforcement data with airport and airline systems, including reservation of passengers; - a senior level security officer to be designated by all airports and airlines; the officer should have power over a security clearance required to take action on sensitive intelligence information; (d) "new technology to be adopted for the positive identification of airport workers, crews, and passengers, uncovering of explosives, and more effective baggage and passenger screening to be integrated in the programs of airport security as soon as possible; (e) establishment of an Aviation Technology Consortium by the FAA; (f) applying the CAPPS -- Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-screening System for all passengers." (Abeyratne, 2003); (Donoghue, 2001)
Building upon the successful efforts of the Administration since 9/11, in June 2006, the President of the U.S. coursed the development of a widespread National Strategy for Aviation Security, referred to as the 'Strategy', for protecting the interests of the nation from the perils in the Air Domain. By incorporating and coordinating the global activities of private and public aviation security, the best results can be achieved for deterring, detecting, preventing and defeating the threats to the Air Domain. The Federal government working in tandem with the local, tribal and State governments, the private sector and the international community has strengthened the security of the aviation sector significantly over the past 5 years, post 2001. The Strategy, its actions and objectives are guided by three broad principles. (a) the Nation must utilize the full range of its capabilities and assets for preventing exploitation of the Air Domain by hostile nation-states and terrorist groups. (b) Efficient and safe use of the Air Domain must be ensured by the Nation. - Travel and commerce must be facilitated by the Nation on a continual basis. ("National Strategy for Aviation Security," 2007)
At an airport, the law enforcement structure is determined by the airport ownership. This support service is provided by the main organizations of the special airport-authority police and the local and state police forces. Security forces are also employed by most of the airport operators to ensure physical security at the airport. The airport operators are meticulous about their responsibilities of security and conversant with the specific security needs. The safety measures can always be tighter but, in order to maintain ample security without hindering the efficient movement of commuters at the airport, many trade-offs have to be made. (National Research Council, 1999)
The security programs which are approved of by the FAA are the ones which the airports rely upon. These programs are principally designed for providing a secure environment to control the movement of ground vehicles and people, for preventing unofficial access to the air-operation regions and for safety of airplane operations. There is unique security problems posed by the terminal building because air-operation areas, public areas and restricted areas must be kept separate. Eventually, the security plan for the ramps and terminal must permit passengers access to unrestricted areas while simultaneously keeping unofficial individuals from gaining access to the areas which are restricted. (National Research Council, 1999)
Even with the abundant security measures, the new policies and reforms, airports still have a long way to go to meet up with the bulk of passenger concentration and travel programs introduced. Registered Traveler -- RT programs which promise the participating fliers to rapidly go through the post- 9/11 security at airports, are still struggling to come to reality. This program has been implemented by only two out of the five companies certified by the TSA -- Transportation Security Administration for providing registered traveler services. Only around 60,000 commuters have enrolled at the ten airports which are participating in this program. Given the fact that around two million passengers move across U.S. airports daily, the number of commuters who have volunteered to have the requisite background checks, iris scans and finger-printing and paid up $100 for enrolling in the RT programs is very minimal. A biometric identity card is issued by the RT providers to the participants. These participants use the card for checking in at a kiosk in the airport and then go to the front of the queue for getting the screening done by the TSA workers. The security check which they go through is the same as the other travelers. (Armstrong, 2007)
The security measures issued by the government have also impacted the airports in various ways. The new procedures resulting from the government-issued security measures have increased the processing time for the commuters at the check-in counters as well as at the security checkpoints. From 18th June, 2007 onwards, the Canadian airlines will start cross-checking the names of the passengers against a no-fly list of Canadian passengers who are considered to be a probable menace to aircraft security. The Passenger Protect program is an initiative for aviation security and is targeted at keeping people from boarding a flight, which may cause a direct threat to the security of the aircraft. It creates an additional layer of security for the aviation system and aids in addressing the potential threats. ("Airport Security Measures")
The key elements included in the program are as follows: (a) Identity Screening Regulations- passengers of 12 years and above need to carry a government-issued valid photo id and two valid government-issue ids without photo; the name on the boarding pass has to match the id. (b) Specified Persons List- it includes the date of birth, name and gender of people who are deemed to be a threat if they are permitted to board the flight. The airlines compare the ID card and this list and deny entrance to such people. - Reconsideration and Appeals- a reconsideration process is included by the Passenger Protect program for individuals who desire to contest their boarding denial, by applying to the Transport Canada's Office of Reconsideration-- OOR. ("Airport Security Measures")
Even the Australian Government has permitted new programs for aviation security for 107 air service operators and 144 airports with effect from March, 2005. They have assigned over $162 million for upgrading the security since December, 2003. The measures would include more rigid screening of carry-on baggage and passengers, armed air security officers on board many flights, special funding for the regional airports and hardened cockpit doors. Under the program many regional airports are required to install new capital items like alarm systems, fences and gates, the upgrades of which is being borne by the Australian Government. If the measures are not put into practice by the aviation industry participants, they could be fined up to the tune of $110,000. The new law also is extended for the ASIC -- Aviation Security Identification Card program under which the staffs of the airline, airport and aviation industry working in sensitive areas are subject to security and police checks. Hence, in order to ensure safety and security in the Air Domain against terrorism and other pending threats, the government all over the world, has brought about various security measures for the aviation industry. Even if such measures pose problems of long-processing time for passengers and costly upgrades, it is justified because keeping the nation and its citizens safe is of utmost importance for the country. (Anderson, 2005)
Abeyratne, Ruwantissa Indranath Ramya. (2003) "Aviation in Crisis"
Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
Anderson, John. (2005, Mar) "New Aviation Security Laws" Retrieved 8 April, 2008 at http://www.minister.infrastructure.gov.au/ja/releases/2005/march/a36_2005.htm