In the aftermath of the events of 11th September 2001, widespread calls were made for the creation of a global security net to defeat the threat of a new breed of terrorism. One year on, we examine some of the major steps that have been taken by the international aviation community to try and meet this objective.
The unprecedented events of 11th September 2001 added a new dimension to the previous pattern of terrorist attacks against civil aviation. Until that time, countermeasures were concentrated on known kinds of hijackers, but not on terrorists prepared to commit suicide during the first phase of a hijacking in order to fulfil the aim of using an aircraft as a weapon against targets on the ground.
For the last thirty years, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has taken the lead role in establishing and strengthening global security standards for civil aviation in response to new and emerging threats. One of the most important legislative functions of ICAO is the adoption of international standards and recommended practices (SARPs), which take their place as annexes to the Chicago Convention 1944 and ICAO has sought to take the initiative in implementing fresh measures in the wake of last year's attacks.
The cornerstone of ICAO's response is encapsulated within the recently formulated Amendment 10 to Annex 17 of the Chicago Convention 1944. Annex 17, ''Security'', is primarily concerned with administrative and co-ordinating actions as well as technical measures for protecting international civil aviation against acts of unlawful interference. Amendment 10 was formally implemented on 1st July 2002 and its principal headline features can be summarised as follows:
Its provisions are now to be applied to domestic and not solely international carriage.
Procedures to encourage international co-operation on the exchange of information about terrorist threats.
Access control for air crew and airport personnel, including random screening at the workplace and background checks as a part of the criteria for recruitment and ongoing employment.
The introduction of standardised training and certification for all persons involved in the implementation of security controls at airports.
Mandatory screening of all hold baggage for international carriage from 1st January 2006.
Measures to ensure that unauthorised persons are prevented from entering an aircraft's flight deck.
Building upon the latter of these requirements, the American...