Airline Safety – Joint Efforts for Better Protection

The recent shoot down of MH 17 over the Ukraine has prompted IATA and other regulatory bodies to insist on a strict review of safety for airliners in-flight as well as for cargo shipments.
In the meantime the German aviation authority LBA mandates security training programs for cargo sales people. This would lead to a new wave of costs.

The leading aviation organizations expect governments to urgently re-address possible risks for commercial aviation in their airspace  /  source: ICAO
The leading aviation organizations expect governments to urgently re-address possible risks for commercial aviation in their airspace / source: ICAO

Last week’s meeting in Montreal of IATA, ICAO, ACI and CANSO members prompted a unilateral statement issued by ICAO as a first warning, whereby all member states are urgently requested to re-address potential risks for aviation in their airspace.
This comes in the wake of the tragic and criminal downing of flight MH 17 in Ukrainian airspace in mid-July.

The official wording states in part that “we recognize the essential need for information and intelligence that might affect the safety of our passengers and crew.”
All parties were in accord that ICAO has the primary lead role in working fast with its Member States to coordinate the aviation industry and other bodies within the United Nations, to make sure that the correct information is gathered and that it is distributed to the right areas at the right time.

How all this is meant to become reality remains to be seen.
No easy job considering the numerous different state regulatory boundaries involved.
This basically should not have been an issue, but more so reality for a longtime.
Regretfully, it takes the horrendous downing of MH 17 to rattle the regulatory cages and bring this anyway important aspect of aviation safety onto the table as an action plan.
We can only hope and pray that this initiative will bear fruit, as another tragic incident such as the one we have witnessed last month, is definitely not tolerable.

Cargo screening in Germany takes a new direction.
The German Civil Aviation Department (LBA) has come up with another list of security measures which after being published have brought a roar of protest from the German Industrial Representatives Association (BDI), and are labeled by them as being totally ridiculous and unnecessary.
The new LBA ruling basically insists that a special air cargo safety screening schooling must be implemented for many “cargo sales staff.”
The present ruling stated that goods moved by air must be protected from unlawful tampering by third parties and that all staff who have access to such shipments, must be schooled accordingly.
Hence, the introduction of the “Recognized Shipper” status.
Now it seems that the LBA will insist that thousands of sales staff who are (only) responsible for the negotiation and sales of goods moved by air, will be forced to also undergo specialized security training, as are their colleagues in the warehouses.
The LBA defends itself by stating that the above mentioned staff should “only undergo a small training program” which is to be given in three parts.

Germany’s LBA demands cargo sales staff to attend security training courses  /  source: LBA
Germany’s LBA demands cargo sales staff to attend security training courses / source: LBA

The shipping industry is up in arms
No wonder!, the expenses will be enormous and trying to coordinate this new step will also add further cost.
The shippers are wanting to know who should pay for this and some are already questioning whether it might not be more of an advantage to give back their (hard earned) “Known Shipper” status. If this were to happen, then the responsibility for secured shipment status would lie fully and only in the hands of the freight agents.
An issue, which they most likely will combat.
This all lies within the boundaries of the EU regulation Nr. 185/2010 which also mentions that shipments per air freight fall under this regulation as of when they are booked.
This then includes the sales individuals who basically bring the shipments on the market.

No end in sight to the cost spiral
Industrial managers feel that the German LBA is bringing too many new national rulings to the industry and claim that most of them are introduced at very short notice, thereby giving the members little time to put them effectively into practice.

A spokesman of the influential industry association BDI states that “the new regulation does not have any noticeable value for air cargo security and will only end up giving “Known Shippers” more cost on top.

The last word has not been said and one has to wonder how the LBA will coordinate the schooling of thousands of sales staff in order to put this ruling into practice.

John Mc Donagh

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