Tyler calls for Enhanced Security for Global Aviation Industry

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Tony Tyler has called on the aviation industry to work towards a more efficient and harmonised process of aviation security that can make life easier for the millions of passengers who keep the industry alive.

In a speech given on Tuesday at the International Aviation Security Conference 2009, held at the Regal Airport Hotel at Hong Kong International Airport, Mr Tyler said that Cathay Pacific is strongly supportive of a move, led by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), to accelerate the harmonisation of security standards through one-stop security.

The airline industry has been trying to achieve this since 1997 but progress has been painfully slow and sporadic, Mr Tyler said. Thats why we support and endorse the call from IATA for ICAO and its aviation security panel to provide the leadership to make one-stop security a global reality.

Mr Tyler said there was no suggestion that the industry should relax its guard, but I strongly believe we have to make a greater effort to tackle some of the long-standing issues that make the security process more difficult and more costly than it should be.

I have lost count of the number of times customers have complained to me about the ambiguities and lack of consistency they encounter in security requirements in the worlds airports. Some airports require you to take out your laptop, others dont; some make you remove your shoes, others dont; some want you to take off your belt; others dont.

What kind of message does that send to passengers? They are understandably puzzled and frustrated and more than occasionally worried about these inconsistencies. Take liquids and gels, as another example. As Giovanni Bisignani of IATA asked pointedly in a recent speech in New York, where is the data that shows that a shampoo bottle is a greater risk than a belt buckle? There is none. Yet we spend millions to limit carry-on liquids.

How do we expect our customers to make any sense of that? And what are passengers to make of the fact that they need to be screened again sometimes twice while in transit? Another example is the baffling array of policies covering metal knives onboard aircraft and in the secure areas of airports. The bizarre array of rules currently in place serves only to confuse and annoy passengers, create unnecessary costs for airlines and caterers and place strain on security staff.

Mr Tyler added that inconsistent and poorly conceived rules bring the whole security process into ridicule, while imposing unproductive cost onto the airlines and frustrating all concerned passengers in particular.

There are solutions waiting out there to iron out all the anomalies. We must find them and implement them, he said.

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