Airport Security

For more than fifty years, the aviation industry has had to counter and respond to the threat of terrorism. It has and still is seen as a high-profile target for terrorists. The emergence in the past 20 years of religious fundamentalism, suicide terrorism, and of self motivated lone wolves present a very real and present threat to civil aviation.

In the early days of civil aviation, acts on unlawful interference were focused mainly on the aircraft with hijack attempts and in some cases destruction using explosives.  The terrorist attacks in the landside areas of Brussels Airport and Atatürk Airport in Istanbul in 2016, and the shooting in Fort Lauderdale in 2017, brought the security of the public areas of airports sharply into focus for all aviation stakeholders.  This new focus creates increased demands on airports to ensure that the security and safety of passengers are met wherever they are.

Recent events also show that terrorists continue to try to exploit aviation to do harm, not only from outside the system but also from inside it.  The people who, willingly or not, facilitate these attacks are known as insider threats, and their position of trust allows them to understand the system and exploit any vulnerabilities. The vast majority of airport workers are well-intentioned. Airport operators need to carry out risk assessments to determine what measures are required to address such threats while promoting positive security culture regimes to enhance aviation security.

To address these complex threats, ACI World acts on four fronts:

  • Defining the future of aviation security
  • Influencing decision-makers and working with Partners
  • Sharing information with others
  • Providing guidance and capacity building

In defining the future of aviation security, ACI aims to strengthen security, while providing a seamless passenger journey, increased efficiency and reduced operational costs. This is achieved through our Smart Security programme. Smart Security envisions a future where passengers are screened seamlessly, through strengthened security using optimized airport facilities.

When influencing decision makers and working closely with our partners, ACI continues to perform an active role in aviation security advocating with regulatory authorities and partners to assist in developing strong and efficient security measures.

ACI keeps abreast of continuous developments in security and in shares information with members in the different regions. This includes threat information, regulatory developments, airport developments, and ACI activities. The World Security Standing Committee helps ACI monitor industry developments and trends and discuss their implications on airports.

As part of providing best practice guidance material and capacity building, ACI provides assistance to member airports, where needed, in a collaborative and proactive approach to develop and strengthen areas related to airport security.  This includes the APEX in Security program, the development of handbooks and delivery of training programs.

ACI’s positions on aviation security can be viewed in the latest version of the ACI Policy Handbook – Chapter 7. On more detailed issues, please see the following Advisory Bulletins developed in response to the most recent security challenges faced by airports.

Airport security advocacy

Security advisory bulletins

Airport Security Culture Infographic

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