The last year has been one of the most challenging on record for terrorist atrocities across the globe, and aviation has once again been singled out for these acts of violence.
Excluding the perpetrators, 61 people died and nearly 400 were injured in the horrific terrorist attacks at Brussels and Istanbul Atatürk airports earlier this year.
The incidents and the appalling death toll, which neither gateway could have done anything to avoid, just goes to show vulnerable airports and indeed all public buildings are to random acts of violence.
It also, sadly, proved once again that airports must continue to remain vigilant when it comes to security and always look to invest in new security equipment, procedures and processes to try and stay one step ahead of the terrorist.
Security in public places will always be a balancing act between getting things right in terms of ensuring the safety of many without creating an oppressive environment that is perceived as being stressful, bad for business and, in some cases, even intimidating.
Luckily, an ever increasing number of airports realise this and in this ‘safety and security’ themed issue you will be able to read about some of the latest pioneering initiatives designed to make the airport screening process faster, more efficient and passenger friendly.
You will also hear from ACI World about the industry’s landside security efforts and the need for global co-operation and understanding on security.
The global adoption of the same airport security processes, procedures and screening methods would certainly be most welcome.
If nothing else, this would finally end the confusing scenario of not quite knowing what to expect at airport security checkpoints as procedures often differ from country to country. Do you remove your shoes or not, for example?
Similarly, is it OK to leave your laptop in its case or does it have to be removed and placed in a separate tray at the X-ray machines?
Last year I was actually stopped and given a telling off by a TSA officer at a US airport for not taking my handkerchief out of my pocket before being patted down at the security checkpoint. I genuinely had no idea that this would be an issue.
Also in this issue we take a look at cybersecurity and find out what ACI is doing to combat this very real and growing threat; discover how biometric technology will continue to change the travel process; and learn about Cork Airport’s wildlife control pioneers.
This issue also comes hot on the heels of Civil Aviation Week in Montréal, which in addition to the joint ACI-NA Annual Conference/ACI World Annual General Assembly (WAGA) included the 39th ICAO Assembly; organised tours to some of the city’s aerospace facilities; and a series of workshops and public lectures.
You’ll find our review of WAGA, which for a whole host of reasons was one to remember, on page eight.
Elsewhere in this issue you can find features on Sydney Airport; Kuala Lumpur’s aerotropolis; and customer service, the latter suggesting that airports can learn a lot from Ryanair!
Now, if that doesn’t whet your appetite, nothing will!
Enjoy the issue.