Integrated processes, technology to ensure safety

Nina Brooks, ACI World’s Head of Security.

Nina Brooks, ACI World’s Head of Security.

Growing passenger numbers and resources needs call for a paradigm shift towards a collaborative effort between all stakeholders. Greater emphasis should be placed on automating and adoption of technology.

It goes without saying that maintaining the safety and security of the travelling public is the top priority for airports and it involves multiple layers of integrated processes and technologies to detect threats and/or mitigate risks. 

The changing variables of threat, growing passenger numbers and limitations on resources calls for a paradigm shift towards a genuinely risk managed approach and a collaborative effort between all stakeholders. The key activities being undertaken by ACI all contribute to addressing these challenges, said Nina Brooks, ACI World’s Head of Security. 

The joint International Aviation Transport Association (IATA)/ACI Smart Security programme provides an example of how a more sustainable, efficient and effective passenger screening process can be implemented to strengthen security, increase operational efficiency and improve the passenger experience. 

One of the next key items on the agenda is to conduct further research into how different methods of risk-based differentiation can be best applied. Other technologies are also being tested such as automated systems to further enhance the screener’s threat detection capability. 

The need to protect landside areas has once again been brought sharply into focus. More screening is not the answer; moving queues to other areas of the terminal simply shifts the vulnerability. However, removing queues and crowds makes the target far less attractive. 

ACI plans to work with IATA on the smarter design of processes that reduce passenger touchpoints and eliminate queues throughout the passenger journey. 

“Alongside this project, we will also continue to work collaboratively with the ACI regions to develop guidance material in support of landside security, including behaviour detection, surveillance and security culture, as well as advocating for better intelligence and information sharing. 

“Our capacity building activities help to ensure that all of the layers of security are applied globally and consistently. A solid risk management approach, good training and a robust security culture is needed everywhere,” she said. 

By raising the bar on security in all airports, the overall system becomes more secure and efficient as additional measures such as gate screening for specific flights and the rescreening of transfer passengers can start to be eliminated. Aimed specifically at airports, ACI World has recently completed the first pilot of its Airport Excellence (APEX) in Security initiative and hopes to be able to launch the programme in full early next year. 

The intention of the programme is to enable airports in need of assistance to benefit from the experience of others. 

Through actively working with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and its key working groups of the Aviation Security Panel, ACI will be able to represent airport interests and advocate for regulation that takes into account airports’ needs and limitations. 

“This is a key area of work and we will continue to contribute actively to ICAO standards, recommended practices and guidance material.

“The development of airport best practices and provision of training enables us to support capacity building efforts. This will be a priority in coming years, enabling ACI to broaden its outreach and help airports to implement the most appropriate measures for their environment,” said David Gamper, ACI World’s Director of Safety. 

ACI’s strategy in security, focusing on the delivery of best practices, capacity building and collaboration between airport, airline and government stakeholders, aims to create a more sustainable and well-rounded security system that meets the needs of our airports for the future. 

Drivers for change

A number of key areas have been identified as drivers for change and in many cases these are dependent on each other, such as process improvement for identity management, which needs a combination of regulatory change, the use of automation and the better use of data. 

There are already many initiatives that identify self-service solutions throughout the passenger journey, including check-in, bag drop, self-tagging, re-booking and boarding processes. 

Automation and technology

Greater use of automation for processes such as the collection of biometrics, automated document verification and payment of departure taxes would enable processes to be implemented at remote locations, off-airport or using mobile technologies. 

Arguably greater emphasis should also be placed on either automating and eliminating processes or moving them away from the airport completely. Remote/mobile check-in and printing baggage tags at home already provide examples of this and perhaps one day there will be no need to use any on-site check-in technology. 

Another area where technology is starting to play a key role is in the provision of timely information for passengers. Knowing security wait times in advance of travel courtesy of mobile applications, for example, can actually change the way people behave at airports. 

And this type of technology offers further opportunities to streamline passenger journeys and subsequently the habits of airport visitors. Knowing the approximate time it will take passengers to get from their arrivals gate to kerbside, for instance, could enable those picking them up to arrive at the airport/terminal at a more appropriate time. 

Apex programme

In the context of airport safety, ACI has conceived and implemented a programme called ACI Airport Excellence (Apex) designed to provide assistance for ACI members to improve their level of safety and compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices. 

“Since the programme’s launch, we have had close to 60 reviews performed worldwide and have built a pool of over 130 safety assessors from over 60 different airports and international organisations,” said Danny Boutin, ACI World’s Senior Manager, APEX Programmes. 

It offers host airports an on-site safety review performed by the ACI Safety Review Team, consisting of active airport professionals. The team identifies safety gaps and develops an action/ implementation plan to address these gaps, helping the host airport achieve certification if need be. 

ACI also assists throughout the implementation phase by providing support, training and access to a global network of expertise. 

“Apex will be placing more emphasis on data collection. While remaining confidential, collected data from our missions will help identify safety gaps and areas of improvement in each of the regions, enabling ACI to better target the needs for assistance and create the most appropriate training. 

“It will also provide valuable information for the ACI Safety and Technical Standing Committee to evaluate the need for handbooks and other tools such as best practices for the benefit of the industry at large,” he said.

Accident Investigation & Aircraft Oversight Department to be fully smart by 2018

Ali Mohammad Abbas, Accident Investigation Officer-Accident Investigation Section, Accident Investigation & Aircraft Oversight Department, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA)

Ali Mohammad Abbas, Accident Investigation Officer-Accident Investigation Section, Accident Investigation & Aircraft Oversight Department, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA)

The Accident Investigation and Aircraft Oversight Department of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) plays a highly important role towards ensuring safety of Dubai’s skies through detailed and timely analysis of accidents and issuance of safety recommendations to enhance preventive measures.

“We work in coordination with other entities including the GCAA with the main focus on ensuring safety of Dubai’s skies in all possible aspects,” Ali Mohammad Abbas, Accident Investigation Officer from the Accident Investigation Section of the department in DCAA, told Via Dubai. 

The department is continuously working toward enhancing its operations and will soon incorporate drones in the purview of its operations, said Abbas. 

Abbas, who is the recipient of ‘Best Innovative Thinking Award’ from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE’s Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, for the first-ever innovative idea of a radar that deals with the challenges posed by drones, said the work culture at the DCAA inspires all its employees to give their best at all times and in this encouraging environment, he continues to work on more innovative ideas and is firmly committed to give better than his best. 

Excerpts from the interview: 

You were recently awarded with the ‘Best Innovative Thinking’ award. Can you share with us the idea that brought the award. 

The DCAA has created a work environment for us that inspires us to be innovative and to contribute to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE’s Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. 

In November last year, I was awarded with the ‘Best Innovative Thinking’ award by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed. 

Having been involved with the challenges posed by drones to the safety of our skies, I came up with an idea to have a system, which is a combination of few radars, that can detect drones, get full specifications and stops them from disturbing the airspace. 

This idea was presented and was accepted by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Smart Majlis and redirected to the concerned parties. 

We were the first in the world to present this idea. 

The recognition that came through this award is a great inspiration to continue giving my best and I am working on more new ideas. I must say the encouraging work environment at the DCAA bring continuous motivation. 

How do you and your department contribute to the DCAA’s aim of ensuring the safety of Dubai’s skies. 

My responsibility is to attend the reported accidents and incidents in Dubai, Dubai

We work in coordination with different entities including the GCAA, Dubai Airports and those concerned. We evaluate the scene, investigate How did the occurrence take place, , communicate with the entities involved, and finally generate a report with the related safety recommendations. 

As you know aviation industry is growing rapidly and safety is the top priority. Our reports support the pillar of safety. Through our recommendations, we try to help entities prevent something that could happen in the future. Through these reports we analyse as well as make suggestions. 

If we find, for instance, that the issue was related to process, we bring the attention of the concerned entity to the issue so they can improve. Our recommendations are based on an indepth observation and analysis and go far beyond the surface level. 

For example, a simple situation where a human error occurs can result in a safety recommendation that involves a full review of the entire entity’s operation in relation to the duty rostering and overtime limitations, in order to eliminate the root cause these preventive measures has to be looked at. 

Which are the most common types of accidents and what are the common reasons? 

The nature of accidents is very diverse, each accident is different. There could be major or minor accidents ranging from total loss of an aircraft to minor dents on a fuselage structure, the amount of damage is irrelevant in some cases, due to the fact that a safety barrier failed which resulted in the occurrence. 

The reasons also vary. It could be human error or a technical glitch. I must add that in Dubai, we have solid processes in place to help prevent these occurrences. 

How strong is DCAA’s investigation department? 

For us, we consider ourselves as our competition. The focus is to continue improving from where we are. Having said that, our department is very strong and our contribution to the aviation safety clearly show that fact. 

Our section, in particular, has staff with different types of expertise- operational, investigation, engineering and other areas. 

Having this team prepared 24x7 to cover the entirety of Dubai including Dubai Airport and Al Maktoum International is very important. 

The DCAA’s stakeholders know that there is a department that backs them and prepares constructive reports for the industry. This is a trust that we honour. 

We try to constantly upgrade and improve ourselves and keep ourselves updated all the time. 

What are the plans to further enhance the operations of your department? 

We do have a plan of going fully smart in 2018 and we have started that in several aspects right now. 

One of the innovative ideas that is implemented already is to incorporate drones in our investigations. 

The staff is already undergoing training for this. 

We will be able to present the reports in no time as the smart system will assist in reducing the time consumption in preparing safety reports the system will be very dynamic while being engaged in preparing the reports. 

Q. What is the best part of your work at the DCAA? 

Routine is not a part of our job, everyday there is something new, something exciting and stimulating. As our work has a big impact on the safety of the aviation industry, we get lots of opportunities to interact with the best minds from top organisations and entities, which I would say, is a blessing in itself. 

I feel that all of us in our section give our best at all times. We are ahead of our problems and feel empowered due to the support from our higher management. The work culture is very encouraging and always inspiring to continue toward excellence. 

DCAA to host World Aviation Safety Summit in Dubai

Local and international aviation experts to analyse essential safety measures

The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) will be hosting the fifth edition of World Aviation Safety Summit (WASS 2017) on April 11 and 12, 2017 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

WASS 2017 will highlight key strategies for the safety culture of the future by engaging with local and international stakeholders from regulatory authorities, airline operators, airport operators, aircraft manufacturers, pilot associations, safety organisations and air traffic control service providers. 

The Summit will address how the aviation industry implements essential safety measures in order to efficiently manage the processes, threats and risks facing aviation safety professionals worldwide. The Summit will also closely examine best practices in crisis communications, reputation management, safety performance and wildlife management. 

H.E. Mohammed Abdulla Ahli, Director General of DCAA, said: “We are committed to the development of safety in the aviation sector locally, regionally and internationally. We are dedicated to backing the Summit and look forward to supporting the learning and innovations that come out of the global gathering. 

We believe that bringing global safety experts together will make a genuine difference to the industry, enhance performance levels and highlight Dubai’s commitment to ensuring a safe and secure future for air travel.” 

Some of the sessions at WASS include enhancing safe and secure operations; overflight and handling a complex geopolitical environment; safety performance, monitoring, measurement and benchmarking; business continuity and air safety; cyber security for safety; and risk management and predictive safety. 

Nick Webb, Managing Partner at Streamline Marketing Group, the event organisers, said: “Returning for its 5th edition, WASS has established itself as an ideal platform for thought leaders of the global aviation safety sector to come together and discuss essential safety measures. Air traffic is booming, and with such rapid growth it is critical that industry and safety experts discuss solutions to the challenges and ever-growing demands of the industry. We look forward to welcoming the world’s global aviation safety experts in Dubai for the fifth edition of the Summit.” 

As WASS’s Association Partner, experts from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will provide attendees with updates on the latest industry safety trends and best practices. 