Security measures have increased enormously since 9/11 with the aim of ensuring a safe and secure journey for every passenger. At the same time, existing regulations have not always brought added value in terms of security; measures are not always pro-active or based on policy, and often do not take into account the situation on the ground. Given the projected increase in passenger flows, the aviation industry needs to change its security culture in order to keep pace with an evolving travel environment. Security is based on risk management and EU regulations require a proportionate and reasonable approach. 

Better Security

In order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of security measures and the passengers’ experience at airports, we should change the focus from a “one size fits all” to a “risk based” security approach. Some airlines and airports are looking at ways to achieve ‘better security’ by trialling different modes of passenger screening. 

The AEA strongly supports initiatives that look at the possibilities for passenger differentiation at checkpoints. In view of Europe’s political background, we would like to emphasise that passenger differentiation could be done by other means than the collection of data alone.

Unpredictable and opaque use of different technologies adds security value, even if performed at lower frequency. Existing layers/controls should be interchanged by applying them in alternation in an unpredictable manner. This could be done via a technology solution but also by changing operational procedures. 

In our view the ideal way forward would be to actively work on a risk-based mindset for passenger screening. Trials need to continue at airports to increase unpredictability, to make better use of existing technology and to test new technology. 

Cyber Security

Airlines’ IT systems are already subject to security measures to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the information they contain. This is done in line with international standards on the security of network and information systems. However, new threats related to e-enabled aircraft are emerging. New aircraft could have up to 3500 software configurations, whereas more conventional aircraft have around 180. The potential threat relates to the software systems and the software update process. 

Broad-ranging efforts are being undertaken across the industry to better define the cyber threat, with a number of different approaches and frameworks emerging. Cooperation amongst airlines, airports, service providers, systems providers, original equipment manufacturers, regulators and ICAO will be crucial to the success of any efforts to combat cyber threats.  

AEA supports the concept of "security by design" to be developed in cooperation with systems providers and manufacturers, but emphasises that any regulation in this field should not be over prescriptive. Cyber security moves at a very fast pace, so any measures need to be highly adaptable to the environment. A common approach to the regulation of cyber security will be necessary. Sharing of intelligence and incident data across borders will also be vital in preparing for and combatting cyber threats.

Liquids and Gels

On 19 March 2013 the new legislation on Liquids, Aerosols and Gels was finalised and published in agreement with the US, Canada and Australia (QUAD partnership). The new rules, which entered into force on 31st January 2014, constitute a first step towards a full lifting of the LAGs ban. 

Under the new rules, all airports must screen duty-free LAGs obtained at any airport or on-board an aircraft that are packed in a STEB, as well as medicines and baby foods to be used during the flight. 

As part of the agreed roadmap, and on the basis of experience gained from the implementation of this first phase and a risk assessment, the Commission will review the situation by the end of 2014 in order to determine, in close cooperation with all parties involved, how fast and under what conditions the second phase will be feasible.

It appears that the first phase has not led to a noticeable increase in passenger satisfaction levels.  With regard to the second phase of LAGs screening AEA supports the roadmap agreed by all signatories, provided that any proposed measures are coordinated internationally with QUAD partners and do not have a negative effect on passenger experience and throughput. 


Airlines have consistently been approached by numerous Member State authorities with various requests for access to airlines’ departure control systems or for the transfer of passenger data. Because of the lack of a harmonised EU PNR directive, airlines are confronted with a plethora of different systems applied in the various Member States. This is certainly burdensome for the airlines, but it also impacts negatively on passengers; therefore AEA calls for improved coordination among Member States and the different actors of the value chain. The airlines would support the development of an EU PNR instrument, with the ultimate goal of concluding a multilateral agreement. 

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