ACI Europe (Airports Council International), the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the European Organisation for Security (EOS), Avinor and Heathrow Airport have released a report titled Open Architecture for Airport Security Systems.
Implementing open architecture principles into security systems will enable open data formats and standard interfaces, all embedded within an operationally viable and cybersecure aviation security environment. Ultimately, these uniform standards will expedite agile responses to new and emerging threats, providing benefits for all stakeholders throughout the globally connected aviation system.
This new guidance aims to help unlock secure data interconnectivity and interoperability among globally connected aviation security systems.
“The pace of the evolution of new security screening technologies is unprecedented. Open architecture helps to increase interoperability through the use of open standards and simplifies adding, changing or replacing new components and data sharing,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “Through open architecture, TSA provides pathways for new collaborators, such as ACI Europe, enhancing innovation by broadening the market of possible partnerships and allowing for greater flexibility to integrate best solutions that outmatch constantly changing threat environments. Having more of the community involved in the development of this guidance is a major milestone for aviation security globally.”
TSA has a history of supporting open architecture concepts dating back to 2010, including working with industry partners to establish the first security image data standard. In August, TSA published its own Open Architecture Roadmap that defines the agency’s long-term strategy to enhance screening capabilities.
The joint guidance, published on November 15, builds on the original 2020 open architecture thought paper prepared by ACI Europe with contributions from the TSA and other national regulators as well as airport operators. That paper served as a catalyst and highlighted a desire for open architecture from end users, leading to the establishment of the Joint Open Architecture Steering Group with representation from ACI Europe, EOS, TSA, Avinor and Heathrow Airport. One of the key priorities for the steering group was to consult OEMs and technology stakeholders.
The new guidance represents a joint initiative across stakeholder communities to engage the OEMs and technology stakeholders in the development of open architecture for aviation security systems. It provides detailed technical standards that seek to identify the issues and challenges that need to be addressed and overcome to fully implement open architecture. The document is supplemented by several annexes detailing specific terms, use cases and considerations.
Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI Europe said, “Our joint guidance on open architecture is laying the ground for the adoption and implementation of new groundbreaking approaches to aviation security – making it more agile and more resilient to the ever-evolving threats landscape, especially from cyber. This is about leveraging innovation both in terms of technology developments and the cooperative processes they enable for better protection but also enhanced passenger experiences at airports.”
Paolo Venturoni, CEO of EOS said, “EOS is happy to sign the new open architecture paper that now encapsulates input from all of the relevant stakeholders. We believe the technical approaches, standards, principles and guidelines for testing and deployment of solutions using open architecture will open up new possibilities and opportunities for future screening as well as making data available to be used for a range of new applications. This has been a truly collaborative effort and the outcome reflects experience and expertise from technology developers as well as the equipment operators and security regulators.”
Thomas Woldbye, CEO of Heathrow, said, “As global pioneers in aviation security, our joint objectives are to explore and develop innovative solutions that deliver enhanced security standards at airports all around the world. Open Architecture for Airport Security Screening Systems is an example of successful collaboration between security equipment manufacturers, regulators and operators to agree on the importance of interoperability and cybersecurity to facilitate the delivery of open architecture standards. It will create a more accessible market that will deliver more efficient and consistent products that support passengers on their journeys, by encouraging third-party investment via interoperability standards, promoting innovation to deliver operational efficiencies, more agile, adaptable, responsive security solutions, and streamlined procurement processes. The guidance establishes a platform that promotes the safe development of enhanced security systems and supports us in delivering the best service in the world for our customers.”
Abraham Foss, CEO of Avinor, commented, “Avinor is very proud of being one of the initiators behind open architecture. As an organization with 43 airports spread throughout Norway, we are very much dependent on sharing information, having an efficient maintenance organization, easy user management and less complexity when installing new equipment. Open architecture gives us all this. It also improves security, as information can not only be shared internally but also with other relevant partners, national and international. I would like to thank all who have been involved in the work so far. You have all contributed to making security ready to meet the challenges of the future.”
The guidance for open architecture for airport security systems has already garnered support from several prominent institutions, including the IATA and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.
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