A new strategy will be adopted by 14 June, with implementation starting immediately

The International Civil Aviation Organisation has unveiled its aviation security action plan (ASAP), aimed at filling holes in global aviation security. ASAP will combine global security audits with further revisions of the recently updated security standards.

At the heart of the ASAP is a system of "regular, mandatory, systematic and harmonised [security] audits to enable evaluation of aviation security in place in all 187 ICAO member states".

In order to allow each nation to monitor its own standards, ICAO plans to define a system of "aviation security quality control functions and performance indicators".

The plan as a whole is slated for adoption by 14 June with "implementation commencing immediately". ICAO has called for voluntary contributions for $15 million of the $17 million programme costs. The USA has pledged $1 million and Canada $220,000. The initial phase of the programme will cover 2002-04, says ICAO.

It says that the audits "will reconcile confidentiality and transparency". If the system mirrors ICAO's aviation safety audit system, results will remain confidential unless follow-up checks, six months after the original report has been submitted, reveal that no action is being taken to remedy inadequacies. In such a case the report is made public.

ICAO cannot force rectification on transgressors, so it has to rely on the errant state's awareness that other nations may choose to ban or restrict flights from countries or airports that do not comply with ICAO standards.

An essential part of ASAP, ICAO reveals, is an agreed programme to follow up audits with assistance to rectify deficiencies. The organisation has called on members with security experience to help train those that do not.

Source: Flight International