AvSec Update Autumn 2022 – The Airports are alive again….

A recap on recent aviation security events which occurred over a very busy and demanding summer period at airports across the globe. By Allan Whyte – Certified Aviation Security Instructor Ireland and U.K.

Hello again from the Butterfly Blog, after a very busy summer period we are back with our monthly look at Aviation Security, Dangerous Goods Awareness, and other aviation training related topics.

This summer was unlike any other that we in Butterfly Training have seen in the aviation industry, with increased requests for face-to-face training to assist new entrants understand the aviation industry and also to directly replace a lot of in-house aviation security training professionals who were deployed to passenger assistance and other non-training airport roles. It worked very well and the reports from both trainees and managers are extremely positive. We are already looking ahead to Summer 2023 and being ready to assist the industry again.

There are some other more pressing developments in the meantime which we are working with both global and local regulators to implement, the first being the introduction of Competency Based Training and Assessment (CBTA) to the Dangerous Goods Awareness Training syllabus globally. In short for a training manager of Dangerous Goods, any training completed before the 31st of December 2022 will be conducted under the current DG Category regime and will be valid for 24 months from the date of certification. However, from the 1st of January 2023 all training is required to be conducted under the CBTA training framework and each employer will need to review their training requirements based on the trainee’s role and level of interaction with Dangerous Goods. The aviation regulator in each country is deciding how they will implement the CBTA framework into their own training approval and auditing systems. After our initial discussions with ICAO and to a greater extent IATA we are now working at a European level with EASA member states to ensure compliance with our existing approvals.

In the U.K. there is a new programme for AvSec Training Instructor certification which we are actively working on to ensure future compliance. The previous classroom training will be replaced with an Evidence-based training methodology whereby each instructor will need to achieve competence-based certification periodically.

In Spain, we launched a new module called AvSaf or aviation safety. This is a new airside training course which is designed for both drivers and staff on foot.

In France, we continue to partner with airports across the country to create bespoke 360° airside safety training. This training can be used to highlight “hotspots” on an airfield and is a cost-effective way to introduce new hires to the dangers at their airport.

Continuous Professional Development Time ………

An update on some aviation security incidents that have occurred since our last update in May.

Increase in Threats against Aviation

There has unfortunately been an increase in the number of hoax bomb threats received this year. July alone saw a large number of such occurrences, with a flight from London Luton to Menorca being escorted to its final destination after a passenger on board posted a hoax bomb threat message on social media. Two Wizz Air flights bound for Krakow were also targets for hoax bomb threats in July.

Throughout July there were multiple bomb threats made against airports:

  • Chisnau – Moldova
  • Sofia – Bulgaria
  • Abakan and Volgograd in Russia
  • San Francisco in the United States
  • Minsk – Belarus
  • Copenhagen – Denmark. 

Aviation has developed some of the most advanced threat assessment tools and procedures in any industry. Our reporting systems and well-practiced emergency and contingency plans ensure that staff are well-briefed and prepared for a bomb (or any other) threat. It is imperative that Security Managers run regular training exercises using both the airport services and also any external services such as the local Fire Brigade, Ambulance and Police stations who are also part of the airport’s emergency response team. Effective training with all parties will ensure a timely and co-ordinated response should any threat be realised.

Ireland News

Two Dublin Airport employees were questioned by An Garda Siochana after officers seized more than €1 Million worth of cocaine.  Neither were Dublin Airport Authority staff but were employed by a service provider based in the airport. Both had airside security access and detectives are examining if their  clearance was used to smuggle shipments of drugs into Ireland for a criminal gang. Ireland is not the only country experiencing insider threat concerns. Rami Yogev, a former senior security official at Israel’s national airline El Al was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his part in a smuggling ring that brought 150kg of cocaine into Israel.

U.K. News

In June, London Gatwick Airports North Terminal was locked down after a suspect vehicle accessed the airport service road the wrong way and then reportedly crashed. Local media reports suggested that the driver then left the vehicle, on foot and travelled towards a packed terminal, carrying two suitcases with exposed orange wires. Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)officers were called to examine the vehicle and the bags. The driver of the vehicle was arrested by police and an investigation w launched. No suspect items were found, and police stated that the matter wasn’t terrorism related.

Summer Summary………. 

We plan to be on the road again this Autumn, visiting our Airport, Airline, Retail, Inflight Supplies, Cargo, Passenger, Baggage Handling and Cleaning customers. We will also be attending aviation and security conferences. It will be great to meet you all again. If in the meantime, you need to speak to us please contact us to schedule a meeting. Our contact details can be found here. We are always happy to discuss your compliance and training related queries.