Sound and effective security arrangements

The safety and security of Australia’s international aviation remains the industry’s highest priority and it continues to invest considerable resources in aviation security at Australia’s major international airports. But we need to remember no security system is infallible. Which is why BARA promotes rigorous, risk-based and intelligence driven approaches to security that can adapt to changing circumstances.

BARA welcomed the opportunity to provide a submission to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee’s review of airport and aviation security.

The safety and security of Australia’s international aviation remains the industry’s highest priority. The industry’s long-term growth and prosperity will hinge on its ability to apply sound and effective security requirements and procedures. Yet it’s important to recognise that no security system is infallible and so what we need to promote are rigorous, risk-based and intelligence driven approaches to aviation security that can adapt to changing circumstances.

As a general principle, BARA supports Australia’s security requirements agreeing with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommendations and guidelines. But in some instances Australia’s individual circumstances may require modifying how the recommendations or guidelines are applied.

How BARA contributes to aviation security

BARA has an internal working group with representatives from most of its member airlines whose responses and information contribute to developing and implementing Australia’s security requirements.

BARA also has an Aviation Security Adviser, who helps member airlines implement security requirements while also supporting BARA’s contributions to the development of security legislation and regulations at the Office of Transport Security (OTS) and the Aviation Security Advisory Forum (ASAF).

ASAF is a structured and consultative approach to reviewing and implementing aviation security requirements in Australia, giving the industry confidence that security requirements and resources are being directed towards assessed security threats.

Aviation security at Australia’s major international airports

The industry invests considerable resources in aviation security at Australia’s major international airports. The annual operating expenses for airport security at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth Airports between 2002–03 and 2013–14 have increased almost three-fold to over $170 million in 2013–14. These costs are ‘passed through’ by the airport operators to airlines through negotiated ‘safety and security’ charges.

These operating expenses only represent part of the total investment in security made by both the airport operators and international airlines. For example, the capital programs negotiated with the major international airports specify significant expenditure on security, including perimeter fencing, screening equipment and surveillance systems. These investments form part of the airport operator’s capital base, the costs of which the operator usually recoups through general airfield and terminal charges.

When the airport operators spend money on security, they consult the international airlines about the investments made and services provided. This provides further opportunities for consultation between the industry stakeholders in planning security services at Australia’s international airports.

OTS is doing a good job and needs continued support from government

The Office of Transport Security (OTS) has done a good job of consulting the industry while developing risk-based and intelligence driven aviation security requirements; OTS allows issues to be carefully assessed and provides opportunities for industry to contribute.

Australia has invested considerable resources into its aviation security. We have developed sound institutions backed by effective consultation to support rigorous security requirements. In assessing likely and emerging threats, intelligence is obviously vital for informing the development and implementation of aviation security requirements.

It is important the Australian Government continues to support OTS, and makes sure it has the flexibility to review and recommend changes to existing security requirements that are consistent with changes to assessed security threats.

Australia’s international aviation industry could double in size over the next 20 years. Aviation security will need to adapt to changes assessed in security threats and growing passenger volumes. This means decisions made now about the capacity and capability of security infrastructure at Australia’s airports will need to consider possible future scenarios that accommodate passenger volumes and security threats.