The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said last week it has adopted more stringent air cargo security standards, as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance the overall security of air transport operations worldwide.
The new measures emphasize more extensive screening of cargo, mail and other goods prior to placing them on board aircraft and better protection from unauthorized interference from the point where security controls are applied until departure of the aircraft.
Also included is the strengthening of provisions related to the deployment of security equipment, the security of air traffic service providers, training programmes and instructor certification systems, and cyber threats.
The updated security requirements are contained in the 12th revision of Annex 17 (Security) to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, adopted today by the Council of the Organization.
“This latest revision to the Security Annex has been in development for some time and reflects our determination to constantly review and adapt ICAO security standards to address a rapidly evolving security situation. It also complements a number of recent initiatives to significantly increase the level of aviation security, in a proactive and concerted manner,” said Mr. Roberto Kobeh González, ICAO Council President.
The recent 37th Session of the ICAO Assembly unanimously adopted a Declaration which identified a number of areas where States committed to working together, in cooperation with the industry, on security issues. These include air cargo security, screening technologies to detect prohibited articles, strengthening international standards, improving security information-sharing and providing capacity-building assistance to States in need.
A diplomatic conference, held in Beijing in September 2010 under the auspices of ICAO, adopted two international air law instruments for the suppression of unlawful acts relating to civil aviation.
The two treaties further criminalize the act of using civil aircraft as a weapon, and of using dangerous materials to attack aircraft or other targets on the ground. They also provide for the unlawful transport of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, and their related material, to be punishable. Making a threat against civil aviation may also trigger criminal liability.