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Airport security & crisis management summit, Brussels

Posted on 26th November 2016 at 16:00pm

The special Security & Crisis Management Summit was jointly organized by ACI EUROPE & ACI ASIA PACIFIC and took place in Brussels (Belgium) on November 22 – 23, 2016, writes Lina Kolesnikova. It is very symbolic that this event took place in Brussels and was hosted by Brussels airport: November 22 marked the eight-month anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Zaventem Airport.

Sani Sener, CEO of Istanbul Ataturk Airport, shared lessons learnt after recent terrorist attacks

The two days saw intensive debates on evolving threats and security challenges faced nowadays by the aviation sector. The summit brought together more than 300 top aviation security experts and policymakers, including Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior –Jan Jambon – the European Commission, the European Council, Europol, Eurocontrol and the US Transport Security Administration (TSA).

Two key presentations were particularly interesting. CEO of Brussels Airport Arnaud Feist and CEO of Istanbul Ataturk Airport Sani Sener shared lessons learned by their organisations after responding to terrorist attacks and recovering from them.  

CEO of Brussels Airport, Arnaud Feist, also shared lessons learned 

All speakers stressed the fact that Europe faces an unprecedented security situation, where the threat of terrorism is mixed with geopolitical instability, migrant crisis, high levels of social discontent and the rise of populist movements.

The role of social media, which could be used as a powerful propaganda machine, was mentioned by several speakers during the discussion on critical communications and leadership.

Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE said: “We all know we need to move from conventional and mostly defensive measures to a more proactive and integrated approach with intelligence and data at its core. Security measures at airports are needed – but they can only be our last line of defence. The key is to identify and stop terrorists before they ever reach an airport, or a train station or a concert hall. Because once they are there, it means we have already lost.”

Reflecting further on the way forward for aviation security, Jankovec concluded : “Moving away from one-size-fits-all systematic and conventional detection towards an intelligence driven system with more deterrence and unpredictability is the only way forward if we want to deliver effective security. This implies a security culture with collaboration and data exchange at its core. It is crystal clear that the only way to get there will be through more Europe – not less of it.

”The EU has raised to the challenge in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and its needs to do the same with the new threat environment we are now facing. More than ever, a Security Union is what we need,” he concluded.

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