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Short-sighted security measures hurting airlines

Badly conceived security measures are badly hurting the airlines said Giovanni Bisignani, Director General and CEO of IATA…

Badly conceived security measures are badly hurting the airlines said Giovanni Bisignani, Director General and CEO of IATA (International Air Transport Association), referring to costly stop gap security procedures that mainly succeed in hassling the passengers.

Speaking at the AVSEC world meeting of aviation security experts in Rome, Mr. Bisignani called for a global approach to security, relying on intelligence coordination and techniques such as biometrics to contribute to positive profiling of passengers.

He also stressed that governments are responsible for protecting their citizens: Governments should implement and pay for aviation security not the airlines, not the airports and not their customers who are already taxpayers.

The total cost for the airlines of added security in 2002 is about 3 billion dollars. In addition, the estimated lost business due to the hassle factor in the U.S. alone is costing airlines close to 2.5 billion dollars.

Aviation security has been greatly stepped up since 11 September. A year on, it is now time to review these measures to ensure that they remain meaningful and efficient. For example, rather than carrying out random checks of passengers or arming pilots – who should be flying not firing – governments must focus their efforts on gathering intelligence and stopping terrorists from entering airports, much less getting on aircraft.

IATA’s Simplifying Passenger Travel (SPT) programme is already working with governments, airports and technology suppliers supporting increased security through biometric identification and passenger profiling.

This type of coordinated industry approach is the most efficient and cost-effective concluded Bisignani. Global solutions are essential if we want to keep the danger and not the passengers off the planes.

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