Aviation security audit under way

An international team of aviation experts yesterday started with their security audit of Namibia's airspace.

20 November 2018 | Transport

A four-member team from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) was yesterday urged to not shy away from identifying gaps in Namibia's aviation security.

Works and transport minister John Mutorwa told the team of experts that they must not “hide” anything, because if Namibia is found wanting in any aspect the ultimate goal is to improve.

Mutorwa made these remarks shortly before the team officially started with their security audit of Namibia's airspace, which will identify any shortcomings and deficiencies in the aviation industry.

The report on the ten-day audit will then recommend to Namibia how improvements can be made.

Among the areas that the team will focus on are the regulatory framework and the national civil aviation security system, training of aviation security personnel, quality control functions and airport operations.

They will also examine aircraft and in-flight security, passenger and luggage security, cargo, catering and mail security. The country's response to acts of unlawful interference will also be assessed.

The audit, known as Namibia's Universal Security Audit Programme Continuous Monitoring Approach (USAP-CMA), will run until 28 November.

The team is led by Aurelien Lavayssiere from Montreal. The other members are Anne Egbadon from Nigeria, Mario Jenni from Switzerland and Jabulani Khuluse from South Africa.

Namibia is the first country to be audited against new standards introduced by ICAO under amendment 16 to Annex 17 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation. The new standards became applicable on 16 November.

Briefing the government and the aviation industry on the audit yesterday, Lavayssiere said the objective was to promote global aviation security through continuous auditing and monitoring of the aviation security performance of member states.

“We can see Namibia understands the aim of the audit and that we are not here to point out the good or bad, but where there are areas that need improvements in security.”

He also made it clear that the team was not here to audit Hosea Kutako International Airport only, but all airports in Namibia.

Until tomorrow the team will be reviewing national and airport-level documents and from Thursday to Saturday they will visit the aviation industry to observe security measures, said Lavayssiere

From Sunday until next Tuesday follow-up activities will be conducted as necessary and the preliminary report will be prepared.

On 28 November a post-audit debriefing will be held.

Lavayssiere explained that the ten-day audit used to be only nine days, but because of the new standards it was decided to extend it.

A total of 497 questions have to be answered during the audit, compared to 480 questions previously.

He further explained that should the team identify a significant security concern, this would first be brought to the attention of the national coordinator to see whether Namibia is willing to take action immediately.

“Afterwards we will then again assess whether proper action has been taken.”

Mutorwa said the government hoped that the audit would help to improve civil aviation in Namibia.

According to him all stakeholders are under instruction to render their utmost cooperation and support if and when it is required during the audit.

Mutorwa said Namibia was aware that the audit would help to identify and rectify the deficiencies in the country's aviation security.

“We take this audit as a learning curve, as an exercise to build and not to destroy. We remain positive that the audit will and must help us to improve our aviation systems in the best interest of our nation and the world at large.

“If certain aspects are found wanting we are certain that they will still help us to address these issues. If we are found wanting our ultimate goal is to improve.”

He said the audit was part and parcel of ICAO's global strategy to prevent acts of terrorism in civil aviation.

“We are delighted to be contributing to the global fight against all kinds of evils such as terrorism. Therefore Namibia is not hesitant to participate in this international programme of regular, mandatory, systematic and harmonised audits, which are aimed at evaluating the aviation security systems of all ICAO member states, clearly demonstrating the country's commitment.”

The deputy chairperson of the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority, Reinhard Gärtner, said the industry had been preparing for the audit for a number of years.

“All stakeholders have prepared to the best of their ability,” he said.

ELLANIE SMIT

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