Smart Security

Angela Gittens,  Director General, ACI World

Angela Gittens, Director General, ACI World

It is with pleasure that I contribute my first monthly column to Via Dubai. Airports Council International (ACI) and Dubai Civil Aviation Authority share the common vision of ensuring the industry’s sustainable growth. One of ACI’s prominent areas of focus is the safety and security of the traveling public, a fundamental pillar of this vision. 

Recognizing the challenges of growing passenger numbers, continuously evolving threats and limited resources, ACI and the International Air Transport Association created the Smart Security programme to strengthen security, increase operational efficiency and improve the passenger experience. 

An increasing number of airports around the world are taking part in trials and implementing measures and processes recommended by the Smart Security programme. Airports include Amsterdam Schiphol, Dublin, Doha, Melbourne, London-Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester. 

There is no one solution for all airports. Instead, the programme has identified a number of components that can be implemented, depending on the regulatory requirement, and the needs, facilities and risk profile of the airport. One example is Centralized Image Processing (CIP),the networking of X-ray machines, which has proven extremely beneficial in improving throughput and reducing processing times. Other innovations include a complete redesign of the checkpoint environment, automation of lanes (e.g., tray handling systems), advanced X-ray capabilities, resource optimization (e.g., parallel divesting) and automated checkpoint performance monitoring solutions. 

Such innovative technologies and processes not only benefit the airport taking part in trials, but also provide tangible examples and best practices that can be rolled out into other parts of the world. As an example, Nina Brooks, Head of Security at ACI World, testified on 2 February 2017, at a United States House Transportation and Protective Security Subcommittee hearing on the future of the Transportation Security Administration where she highlighted the benefits of Smart Security componentsbeing implemented globally. 

The Middle East has a unique opportunity, due to its location and rapid growth, to lead change and innovation in regards to security. Dubai International Airport for one, the next-generation travel hub, is implementing innovative practices such as automatic passenger identification and a seamless passenger journey. 

The successes seen by the Smart Security programme over the past year are a testament to ACI’s commitment to ongoing engagement with the industry both locally and globally, including information sharing and the exchange of best practices. 

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