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ACI issues aviation security statement following Brussels attacks

Airports Council International (ACI) Europe has issued a new statement supporting existing airside security measures at EU airports following last month’s terrorist attacks at Brussels Airport in Belgium.

The statement has been released following media reports regarding aviation security that have been fueled by the leak of two EU security audit reports highlighting security concerns at Liege and Brussels Airports prior to the attacks which took place on March 22.

In the latest release, ACI reinforces its position that European airside security measures remain sufficient, and that landside security is the responsibility of the relevant authorities. In the statement, ACI says that it “deplores" media reports of security deficiencies at the airport and blames a lack of knowledge over existing security regulations, citing that airside security is one of the most regulated and controlled spaces in the transport sector.

ACI stated that, “The aviation-specific security regime in place at EU airports has been designed and implemented with a deliberate focus on limiting access to airside areas (non-public spaces of airports accessible only to air passengers who hold a valid boarding pass), which generally falls under the responsibility of airport operators. The security of these spaces is subject to close monitoring by national and EU authorities.

“This security regime is built around the purpose of preventing unlawful interference with aircraft – a historically strategic target of terrorists for several decades. Since 2001, these aviation-specific regulations have been harmonized and coordinated at EU level.

“Airports only have a legal mandate for aviation security. The maintenance of law and order within the entire airport domain remains the responsibility of the police.”

The statement then goes on to say that the leaked security audit report was “irrelevant” because it was a critique of the operator of the airport rather than of the airside security measures themselves. Belgian Transport Minister Jacqueline Galant resigned last Friday (April 15) following the leak of the report.

ACI said, “We note that the security audit report recently leaked to the press relates to an audit of the oversight capabilities of the competent Belgian authority in relation to aviation security. It is not an audit of the aviation security conditions at Brussels Airport. Therefore, the report does not contain any material indication that aviation security at Brussels Airport was deficient prior to the attacks of March 22.”

ACI’s statement concludes by saying that it has full support for the existing security processes at European airports, including Brussels, and should any serious security deficiencies exist at any EU airport, then they would be identified and remedied at the earliest possible opportunity.

To read the full statement from ACI, please click here.

April 19, 2016


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