New Enhanced Security Measures May Eliminate Laptop Ban?

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

US Department of Homeland Security issued a travel advisory new enhanced security measures that would be in effect immediately to improve overall security screenings for all flights heading to the country.

Enhanced Security Measures

John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security, spoke of the seen and unseen threats that target the United States. These threats require more diligent passenger screening by all airlines and airports with flights heading to the country as the final point of entry.

United States Bound Travel Facts / Statistics

United States Bound Travel Facts / Statistics Source: US Department of Homeland Security

There are more than 325k passengers on average travelling to the US on a daily basis from 105 countries and on board 180 airlines so privacy and security whilst abroad and travelling, is very important. What else is important is the safety of your home whilst you are abroad. In order to improve your home’s security, you may want to install something like a home security system. If so, you can check out some home security cameras reviews to help get yourself started. Security cameras can be very beneficial to your home, and can act as a deterrent to any potential criminal activity. Some cameras nowadays are even fitted with a built-in gun detection system to prevent gun-related crime taking place.
This translate to over 118 million passengers annually that has US as a destination / layover point. To minimize the potential risk of terrorist attacks, the Department will be implementing the following enhanced security measures:

While timelines have not been established, it is expected that all the measures would be communicated through the Security Directive (SD)/Emergency Amendment (EA) process and deployed before the end of the year. Announcing the new measures the Department said that “The United States and the global aviation community face an adaptive and agile enemy”, and added that “Terrorist groups continue to target passenger aircraft, and we have seen a ‘spider web’ of threats to commercial aviation as terrorist pursue new attack methods”.

DHS also stressed that “those who fail to adopt these requirements within specific timeframes run the risk of additional security restrictions being imposed, up to and including suspension of flights to the United States.”

Current Laptop Travel Ban

The Department imposed a large electronic travel ban (i.e. devices that are bigger than an iPhone 7 Plus) for nine countries which affected ten airlines and airports. This new initiative could help lift the ban for these countries if they can show evidence that they fully comply to the measures. This is great news for Qatar Airways (QR) as it has been pushing for this type of audit (Related News: Aviation News Around The World – June 19, 2017). There are currently no set timelines or higher priorities for the affected countries, airlines or airports to prove compliance.

Large Electronic Ban Locations

Large Electronic Ban Locations Source: US Department of Homeland Security

International Civil Aviation Organization

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) already conducts security audits for its member states (including aviation authority, airlines and airports) under the Universal Security Audit Programme Continuous Monitoring Approach program introduced since 2014.

The audit protocol is to evaluate the following:

  • Regularly and continuously obtaining and analysing data on Member States’ aviation security performance, including the level of implementation of the critical elements of an aviation security oversight system and the degree of compliance of with Standards of Annex 17 — Security and the relevant security-related Standards of Annex 9 — Facilitation, as well as associated procedures, guidance material and security-related practices;
  • Identifying deficiencies in the overall aviation security performance of Member States and assessing the risks associated with such deficiencies;
  • Providing prioritized recommendations to assist Member States in addressing identified deficiencies;
  • Evaluating and validating corrective actions taken by Member States; and
  • Re-assessing the overall levels of Member States’ aviation security performance achieved, aimed at continuously enhancing Member States’ aviation security compliance and oversight capabilities.”

The key is to ensure member states comply with security standards established under the following areas:

CE-1: Aviation Security Legislation

CE-2: Aviation Security Programmes and Regulations

CE-3: State Appropriate Authority for Aviation Security and its Responsibilities

CE-4: Personnel Qualifications and Training

CE-5: Provision of Technical Guidance, Tools and Security Critical Information

CE-6: Certification and Approval Obligations

CE-7: Quality Control Obligations

CE-8: Resolution of Security Concerns

While the Department, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) take the audit information into account for air worthiness to the country, the new enhanced security measures will supersede all passed audits and require airlines and airports to submit evidence showing compliance. Those that do not submit on time or lack clarity on compliance may be asked given to impose the large electronic ban or risk flight suspension.