ICAO security audit in full swing

19 November 2018 | Transport

ELLANIE SMIT

The government and relevant stakeholders in the aviation industry will today be briefed on the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) security audit that started yesterday.

The security audit of Namibia’s airspace is taking place from 18 to 28 November.

According to the works and transport ministry the ICAO auditors will be briefing the government and the aviation industry today. Transport minister John Mutorwa is also expected to address the important meeting.

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.

The Namibia Airports Company (NAC) recently indicated that it was ready for the security audit.

Together with all stakeholders the NAC has worked to resolve issues that were identified during the ICAO Security Audit of the State of Namibia in 2010, as well as other aviation security issues identified since then.

The Airport Council International (ACI), through the Airport Excellence in Security (APEX) initiative held in December 2017 at Hosea Kutako, also identified security gaps and areas of improvement that have since formed part of the holistic approach to address security matters at the airport.

For the ICAO security audit NAC and other stakeholders have managed to close various security gaps. The NAC recently said it would continue to address evolving issues even after the audit.

Some of the steps that have been were to improve emergency preparedness and reshape the main passenger screening points at Hosea Kutako to comply with the latest ICAO requirements.

Additional screening machines were procured and installed to improve the throughput of screening points and the human capacity of the police and immigration officials was increased to effectively provide service to passengers.

Furthermore, fast-track lines were implemented for crew members, passengers with reduced mobility and families with small children.

Retail space at the airport has been reduced to increase screening space in the departure hall. An additional scanner and immigration counters were installed and more queuing space was created.

It should be noted that there is no link between the current ICAO security audit and the downgrading of any airport.

Downgrades can only emanate from a safety audit. Namibia’s next safety audit will be in the first quarter of 2020.

ICAO audits the aviation safety and aviation security oversight capacities of its 192 member states. In the safety domain these are carried out under its Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP), while in the security domain they operate a similar Universal Security Audit Programme (USAP).

“It is important to recognise that these audits do not cover airlines, airports or other industry operators. Rather they are restricted to only the legislation, resources and other capacities which state governments establish in order to effectively implement ICAO’s Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) in each area,” says ICAO.

Security audit information is confidential, given that the publication of security gaps or vulnerabilities could be exploited.

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