The boards of ACI Europe and ACI-NA met with US TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger in Montreal over the weekend – in the run-up to the ACI World & NA Annual Congress & General Assemblies which began on September 26.
ACI Europe said the meeting with Administrator Neffenger, which took place just a few days after the UN Security Council adopted a landmark resolution on countering terrorist threats to civil aviation: “focused on the evolving nature and increased complexity of the terrorist threat and the best ways to address it.”
ACI Europe stated that there was strong consensus over the need to further progress towards more risk-based and integrated approaches to aviation security – focusing on innovation, intelligence capabilities and a better use of existing resources. It noted that the US TSA has already taken significant steps in that direction, in particular through the deployment of its PreCheck system – moving towards a more targeted and efficient screening process at US airports. Landside security was also discussed at the meeting, with Administrator Neffenger confirming that establishing screening checkpoints at the entry of airport terminals presents security vulnerabilities and does not offer the most effective way of securing public areas. Maureen Riley, Chair of ACI-NA and Executive Director of the Salt Lake City Department of Airports, commented: “In today’s complex security environment, we must maintain a global vision when it comes to providing the safest and most secure travel experience. More and more, airport challenges are not restricted to one country and require collaboration that crosses borders. Airports appreciate our strong relationship with Administrator Neffenger and his partnership with industry stakeholders. We look forward to continuing our collaboration to advance a smart, risk-based approach to security through our close alignment with ACI Europe.”
Augustin de Romanet, President of ACI Europe and President & CEO of Groupe ADP said: “Continued alignment between the US and the EU is more important than ever given the security environment we are now facing. I was impressed by the TSA’s strong focus on innovation and readiness to challenge the way we secure our facilities. The US PreCheck system points to how we need our aviation security system to evolve – reinforcing security efficiency and adapting to the new reality we are facing. I hope we will be able to follow suit in Europe with similar initiatives, which should ideally be developed in tandem with our US partners.
He added “Ultimately, step changes in our ability to protect our facilities – both landside and airside – will depend on the ability of our authorities to leverage their intelligence capabilities and work even closer together and with the industry. The real challenge is detecting and stopping terrorists before they even reach an airport or any other public space. Once they are there, it means we have already lost.”