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NEWS Last modified on October 14, 2011

Copenhagen Airport calls for end of “crazy security regime”

The head of security at Copenhagen Airport has called for an end to the European Union’s “crazy” and costly approach to security legislation.

The head of security at Copenhagen Airport has called for an end to the European Union’s “crazy” and costly approach to security legislation.

Speaking on the penultimate day of the Smart Airports conference in Munich, which on Thursday focused on airport security, Johnnie Müller said that “the crazy regime has to stop.”

He said that a lot of regulations and legislation imposed by the EU on security simply do not make sense and “we wonder why are we doing this?”

As a result, the gateway has pledged not to increase its operational costs on security for the next two years despite further legislation changes that might happen over that time, he said.

Müller told delegates: “We will have to do something else if legislation changes again. The current approach has reached the end of its regime, it is just layer upon layer of legislation that is constantly changing, and eventually we will have to rebuild or expand the airport just for security to be there.”

Instead Müller has called for a change towards a more risk-based approach to security.

Speaking about the proposed changes in legislation regarding LAGs, Müller said the regulation set for implementation in 2013 was “even more ridiculous” and that “it won't work but will cause complete chaos across Europe. Furthermore operational costs would have to increase 40% if we are to invest in the equipment.”

Meanwhile Müller acknowledged that the EU was looking for help to change its policies and was reaching out for the industry to offer its input.

He said that currently there were too many vested interests from different authorities, organisations, and cultures to take into account, and instead everyone should “work together to move from the EU approach to global standards.”

Müller suggested that security “needs to change from 100% machine to a new risk-based approach.” 

He said: “The approach to security should be risk-based and not a reactive process. At the moment new rules are added as a reaction to incidents.”

While it is important for airport to ensure passenger security they should be allowed a risk-based rather than a “one-size fits all” approach, he added.

As a result Müller urged airports in Europe “not to just follow EU legislation blindly.”

Meanwhile, Tonči Peović, general manager at Zagreb Airport, who spoke earlier in the day, also debated the idea of over-regulation in Europe and whether certain measures were completely necessary.

He said that airports and regulators were “too focussed on physical checkpoints as the last line of defence”, and that systems were now too predictable and allow for terrorists to detect the weak points.

Peović also questioned the need for bulky, slow and expensive baggage screening technologies when the last case of a bomb in a bag was the Lockerbie bombing in 1988.

Likewise he questioned the need for the EU legislation on LAGs when there had never been a case of such an attack.

Instead, he said terrorists were developing new threats and sophisticated techniques such as swallowing explosive devices or using body cavities to conceal such weapons, and as a result legislators should focus on ways to combat these very real threats.

Dave Pendlebury, security development manager at Manchester Airport, who was also speaking a the event, reaffirmed this point wondering if “we have gone as far as we can” in terms of innovation under the current regime.

He said that “terrorists are better at innovation and airports are limited by the regulations.”

Organised by Airport World publisher, Insight Media, to run alongside the inter airport Europe exhibition in Munich, Smart Airports has focused on Aviation & Economics Development; Design & Development; Towards Sustainability – Green Airports; and Airport Security.

Today's final session of Smart Airports will focus on IT & Automation. 

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