Left to right: David Ryder and Olivier Jankovec, ACI Europe; Jan Jambon, vice-Prime Minister of Belgium; and Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport
Airports Council International (ACI) Europe met up with senior government officials from Belgium yesterday (September 12) to discuss the effectiveness and adequacy of the extra security measures applied for landside spaces at Belgian airports.
Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI Europe, and David Ryder, head of aviation security at ACI Europe, met with Jan Jambon, vice-Prime Minister and security and interior minister of Belgium, and Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport, to discuss the issues.
Since last April, ACI Europe has expressed concerns as to the effectiveness of screening all passengers on entry to airport terminals claiming that the measure was merely moving the target rather than securing it.
ACI believes this assessment was proven right on June 28, 2016, with the terrorist attack that took place at Istanbul-Atatürk Airport in Turkey. The existence of entry screening at Istanbul-Atatürk, similar to the ones deployed at Belgian airports, failed to prevent the attack or prevent the number of casualties, claims ACI.
Over the past months, the Belgian government has reconsidered the level and scope of the security checks at the entrance of airport terminals – with these checks no longer being systematic. Crucially, along with all other European states, Belgium has also looked at deploying alternative measures, which are both more efficient from a security standpoint and less intrusive. However, entry screening still remains in place at this time, with Belgium being the only EU country applying such measures.
Jankovec said, “There is little doubt that the remaining screening measures at the entrance of airport terminals in Belgium should be removed – they are not adding anything in terms of security. I am reassured that the Belgian government is already moving in that direction and ACI Europe stands ready to assist where needed on the deployment of alternative and more efficient measures. This will allow for better use of existing resources and will actually go a long way in restoring a more positive image of Belgium as an efficient and safe destination.”
ACI Europe also announced that it would hold a special Security and Crisis Management Summit in Brussels on November 22-23, 2016, hosted by Brussels Airport. The summit will look at a broad range of issues including the evolving nature of the current terrorist threat, landside security, technology and risk based approaches, and the challenge of radicalized employees.