Sub-optimal “knee-jerk” responses to security threats and incidents could be avoided if industry mirrored its successful approach to managing safety issues, says Andrew Herdman, director-general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines.

Citing the recent ban on personal electronic devices (PEDs) in the cabin of some flights to the UK and USA as “another case in point”, Herdman says a safety-style approach would instill some much-needed discipline into industry’s approach to security.

“The question is – can we bring some of that discipline and process knowledge into deliberations and formulation of aviation security policy,” Herdman states today on the sidelines of the IATA AGM in Cancun.

“You don’t make new safety initiatives the day after an accident,” he adds. “You analyse the accident and spend a long time before you do it… there’s a whole protocol.”

While Herdman says he understands the pressure faced by authorities to act quickly when a security threat surfaces, he cautions that rushing the response often creates unintended consequences. As an example, he points to the potential safety risk of putting multiple lithium-ion batteries into the hold of an aircraft – a by-product of the UK and US PED bans.

“After something bad happens, make a list of things you could do but think very carefully before you implement them,” he suggests. “And assess what the system impact is while examining what the alternatives are.”

Herdman also questions the effectiveness of individual countries introducing new security measures in an industry that is inherently connected on a global level.

“Aviation security is not a matter for individual governments – that’s not the way the system works,” he says. “It’s a global system that’s all integrated, so aviation security is everyone’s responsibility. Governments need to work together multilaterally through ICAO, or other forms of multilateral process [when deciding] what’s the appropriate thing to do in response to new threats.”

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Source: Cirium Dashboard