Press Releases

Risk and security challenges for airports and autonomous vehicles

New ACI report examines concerns related to the rise of this new technology

Montreal, 27 November 2019 – Airports Council International (ACI) World has today launched The Autonomous Systems at Airports, Assessing Potential Security Threats and Risks Report, jointly developed with Arup. The report examines concerns related to the rise of autonomous vehicle technology.

Specifically, the intent of the report is to explore the emerging security vulnerabilities and potential security risks associated with the deployment of autonomous vehicles, systems and drones by airports.

It considers how airports, designers and other members of the aviation community can introduce these technologies in a more informed manner with regard to potential security impacts.

“While the report presents possible threats and risks, it does not, at this stage, propose in detail how these might be mitigated,” said ACI World Director General Angela Gittens. “Security measures to manage the risk from autonomous vehicles should be discussed in cooperation between an airport and its local government and regulatory partners when considering their deployment. Discussion should also happen at an international level, where sharing of lessons learned, and best practices will be useful.”

The Arup Threat Vulnerability and Risk Assessment (TVRA) approach is used to identify scenarios for an airport, depending on their intended and actual deployment of such driverless vehicles on the ground and/or in the air.

“It is not always obvious that a security risk is introduced with new technology and ways of working so we are hoping this paper raises awareness and airports use it as a baseline on which to undertake their own risk assessment.” Stacey Peel Arup’s Global Aviation Security Leader said.  “This preventive security approach will in turn allow innovation to thrive unhindered by onerous security measures that often follow incidents.”

The launch of the report follows the release of the Autonomous Vehicles and Systems Report launched at the ACI Airport Exchange event in Abu Dhabi. By using these two research reports together, airports can learn how they can evaluate the feasibility of autonomous vehicles for their business needs, design and implement a detailed and comprehensive pilot programme, and consider security risks that might be introduced.

Notes for editor

  1. Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association of the world’s airports, was founded in 1991 with the objective of fostering cooperation among its member airports and other partners in world aviation, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Air Transport Association and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization. In representing the best interests of airports during key phases of policy development, ACI makes a significant contribution toward ensuring a global air transport system that is safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sustainable. As of January 2019, ACI serves 646 members, operating 1,960 airports in 176 countries.
  2. Arup helps aviation clients solve complex business, development and operational challenges through innovative planning, design, technology and management consultancy. It has provided integrated services to operators, developers, investors, airlines and regulators at over 100 airports globally – ranging from many of the world’s largest international hubs to award winning regional airports. Arup’s aviation security specialty spans the spectrum of airport security needs from threat, risk and compliance to security system design, testing and commissioning and security culture programmes.
  3. More information on the Assessing Potential Security Threats and Risks Report, and the Autonomous Vehicles and Systems Report.

Media contacts

Bojana Jeremic
Manager, External Relations and Special Events
ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1254

Sabrina Guerrieri
Manager, Communications
ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1200

Ria Patel
Global Press Office
Telephone: +44 20 7755 2104