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Notes from the ICAO Global Aviation Security Symposium

Friday, September 15, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rachael Negron
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Notes from the ICAO Global Aviation Security Symposium


On 12 - 14 September 2017 in Montréal the ICAO Global Aviation Security Symposium #AVSEC2017 took place with the theme: “AVSEC Culture – Beyond the Standards”.


Three days of intense work among almost 600 participants, dozens of informative presentations, discussions and networking – all deserves to be analyzed and much of it to be used in the air cargo industry. Today – just a few remarks fitting in the format of Friday Flyer.


The Symposium was the first of this kind in ICAO, and it’s the first under the leadership of Sylvain Lefoyer, Deputy Director of the Air Transport Bureau of ICAO. Sylvain will be a part of our Executive Summit on 18-20 October in Miami and I will ask him to give us an overview of the most relevant issues.


While much of the topics highlighted the passenger-oriented side of the industry, we can observe the same problems. Let me start with the session which looked at the implementation of an effective security culture. It concluded that the existence of a well-trained, motivated and professional work force is a critical prerequisite for effective aviation security and is to be a part of the overall business culture. A strong security culture must be developed from the top management across and within every organization. The improvements are apparent but one of the biggest challenges is complacency. When looking at the different sides of the aviation industry, panels were trying to identify similarities and differences in understanding security culture and define its common understanding in the aviation context. I can only conclude that all discussed regarding the workforce optimization and personnel selection is highly relevant to the air cargo industry.


When asked to vote on the importance of vetting the staff before and during employment, 90% said YES – must be done. On another question – how important is the initial and recurring training in security awareness, including insider threats, again 90% said YES, important.


Serious attention was given to the understanding of aviation security risks for the development and implementation of policies and risk mitigating measures. They concluded that they are to be effective, proportionate and sustainable. Undertaking risks is acceptable but we have first to identify and prioritize gaps and vulnerabilities.


The audience was up on their feet when the Explosive Detection Canines came into the assembly hall. There was a live demonstration about the latest uses of explosive detection dogs at airports. This engaging activity allowed audience members to see how explosive detection using canines can be utilized at the security checkpoint. Inspector Akrum Ghadban, Officer in Charge, Police Dog Services, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) gave a very complete account of selection, training and handling of the dogs.



And of course no conference is complete if the subject of e-commerce is not touched in one way or another. The key concern of the regulators and the security experts is whether we know well who we are working with. Background checks, reliable databases, and proper certification were mentioned more than once. In connection with the certification challenges, I am inviting you to read the article below contributed by Alex Allen on an industry e-Commerce certification program.


I should stop at this with a promise that I will continue covering the highlights of the Symposium in the next issue.


Best regards,


Vladimir Zubkov

Secretary General



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