COMMENT 06 November 2015
COMMENT – REVIEWING AIRLINE SECURITY POST SHARM EL-SHEIKH
Commenting on the news that gaps in airport security measures may have played a role in the Sharm el-Sheikh air disaster, Larry Williams, Managing Director at Flightweight, a leading manufacturer of innovative security solutions for the aviation industry, states:
“When it comes to an explosive device being smuggled onto a plane, the risk comes from two main groups of people – passengers or staff.
“However, I agree with the former head of group security at BAA, Norman Shanks, when he stated that current security measures focus predominately on just one aspect of aviation security – the screening of passengers travelling through airports to board flights and the baggage they carry.
An unbalanced approach
“Unfortunately, when it comes to staff-side threats, measures are a lot more inconsistent. And this unbalanced approach – and the gaps it can create – has been shown time and time again to have the potential to severely compromise the safety of air travellers.
“A particular on-going issue is that staff-side security measures vary considerably between jurisdictions – there’s simply no internationally agreed standard. For example, UK airports have screened all workers every time they enter secure areas, however often they leave and re-enter, since the early 1990s. While this is a process that the EU also adopted in 2004, there still isn’t a similar system in place in the US or, indeed, many other countries.
The role of airlines
“Given the inconsistencies in thoroughness of airside security between airports and jurisdictions, we believe that not only airports and aviation authorities, but also airlines themselves, need to take a central role in actively protecting air crew and passengers against potential security threats.
“At Flightweight, we are committed to helping airlines enhance safety and mitigate security risk as much as possible. We know that there’s no single ‘silver bullet’ that can mitigate risk 100%, but we’re dedicated to identifying areas where risk exists and designing practical solutions to reduce the threat as much as possible – without negatively impacting the on-board experience.
“For example, our AirGuard2 is the world’s only fully-patented and EASA certified electronic lock and seal system for galley carts currently available for use on commercial aircraft.
“Unlike the traditional plastic and metal seals used to secure carts, AirGuard2 uses high security Radio Frequency Identification technology which requires the use of clone-proof key cards to access the cart and also identifies the user, time of use and date of all instances of entry.
“If the seal number of the user does not match expected seal numbers, the intended trolley recipient will be alerted of the unusual activity and be able to investigate immediately. Any attempt to force entry to the cart, meanwhile, instantly enacts an attack detect message and triggers an alarm, while simultaneously immobilising the cart.
“In both cases, suspicious activity is quickly detected and recorded, enabling a swift investigation to be undertaken using the downloadable information.
“We are also currently developing additional innovative solutions to further enhance airline security, and aiming to introduce another unique product onto the market early next year.”
Notes to editor
Founded in 2013, Flightweight, which is part of the WRASP Group, specialises in lightweight trolleys and cutting-edge security solutions for the aviation industry.
Leaders in innovation and expertise, Flightweight is committed to reducing weight, improving security and helping airlines and aviation service companies to increase profitability with its range of intuitive products that offer a compelling list of benefits.
The company’s fully-patented SmartCart system is at the cutting-edge of galley trolley design, recently achieving the accolade of becoming the only product in its class to boast European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) accreditation. SmartCart has also been recognised with the prestigious 2015 OnBoard Hospitality Award for Food Service Equipment (Hardware).