What can an aircraft operator do to ensure maximum security on international business flights? Keegan Coutinho, Click Aviation Network, offers his top suggestions…
Successful businesses often follow opportunities wherever they can be found around the world. Such global organizations understand the number one benefit of Business Aviation – the ability to access any destination they need to go on their own schedule.
Sometimes, though, a business opportunity will necessitate a flight into a riskier, possibly volatile nation or region.
While a key element of any international trip planning is to assess potential security risks and act accordingly, what are the main security tips for international Business Aviation trip planning that will keep both crew and passengers secure wherever they fly? Here’s our ‘Top Five’…
1. What are the regulations at the specified country?
It is imperative to assess and understand the regulations and requirements laid out by the governing bodies of the region or country of interest before travelling there.
The destination country (or its related Civil Aviation Authority) may have established bilateral agreements with the country of origin, or ‘such kind of a trade agreement’ that may be in place between the national or continental governing bodies of the two countries.
Prior knowledge about these requirements and regulations will help prevent the crew and passengers from encountering a compromising situation.
For example, failure to understand such requirements and regulations could result in heavy fines being levied on the aircraft, and possible diversions to another airport enforced (with its own set of problems if that airport is not adequately equipped according to the aircraft’s and passengers’ requirements).
2. Conduct a Safety and Risk Assessment of the country of interest
Usually when agreements or understandings are not in place, extensive measures and research will need to be carried out in the interests of the safety of the crew and passengers.
The governing bodies of developed nations usually do a good job highlighting and informing the users of the safety and security levels in operation at a specific airport or region. Understand, though, that these reports are merely informative.
Further risk-assessments should be carried out by operators to be confident of compliance with the company’s policies of protecting the safety of their crew and passengers. The political climate in the region should be assessed thoroughly.
While an airport facility may be relatively safe, a region’s political climate can create a very different security proposition once crew and passengers exit the airport.
An operator should seek the trip planning services of a provider who will also carry out a risk assessment of the destination, independently highlighting any potential issues that could impact the safety (in and out of the airport) of all personnel on board. An element of local knowledge will prove very beneficial here.
3. What is the airport security for flight personnel?
It is essential to determine the feasibility of operations at a destination airport. That means consideration needs to be given to whether the airport is compliant with the minimum requirements to land/take-off with your aircraft. NOTAMS (notice to airmen) and runway facilities should be assessed to ensure they meet the performance requirements of the aircraft.
Crew should be aware of any surrounding obstacles and terrain that could impact operations in and out of the destination airport. Once that has been determined, any customs/immigration and security procedures must be analyzed to ensure the safety of crew and passengers as they pass through the airport.
The same applies to staff screening, as a measure to avoid interference from non-authorized personnel (i.e. unauthorized civilians/officials) that could jeopardize the safety of all personnel transiting the specific airport.
A lack of staff screening could lead to a compromise in the security of the airport, the aircraft and related equipment.
4. Don’t overestimate your aircraft’s security
It will be vital to take measures to secure the safety of the aircraft while it’s on the ground at the airport. Ascertain, and make sure you are happy with, the procedures carried out by airport personnel to ensure their perimeters are not breached.
A security failure could lead to an aircraft being vandalized, tampered with – possibly even stolen. So, an airport’s security measures will play a key role in determining the feasibility of that destination for your operation.
5. How good is security and safety en route to a destination?
Due to the ever-changing political situation in regions like the Middle East, monitoring continuously for new and emerging potential threats and restrictions that could hinder the security of the aircraft and its occupants is important.
The threats are not restricted to the destination airport and surrounding area, however. They include regions and countries that will be overflown en route. Should a security threat emerge, you will need to be prepared to re-route if necessary.
Security can be a complex area, and as highlighted by our final tip, it can be a moving target depending on the region.
An operator unfamiliar with the destination where a business opportunity arises would be well advised to source the expertise of a reputable, established flight support service who will have planned many successful and secure flights to these destinations before.
With every possible measure taken, and the right partner at your side, there should be no reason for a flight into an unfamiliar, potentially difficult area to be unsuccessful.
More information from www.click.aero