[Antigua] Aviation Officials on Island
Tuesday, 15 May 2012
Regional and international civil aviation officials are converging on Antigua for a week-long session on safety and security in the industry (AVSEC).
There will be a regional seminar on aviation security from May 14 to 15, while the second meeting of the Aviation Security and Facilitation Regional Group will be held from May 16 to 18. Both assemblies will take place at the Grand Royal Antiguan Resort.
Topics will include insider threats, risk-based measures, sustainable security measures, air cargo and travel document security, new technologies, and information sharing intelligence.
Oversight Officer within the Ministry of Civil Aviation Peter Abraham said, “While the Caribbean is in a low threat zone, we cannot rest our guards in the matter of aviation security. We have got to be proactive and build our mechanisms to guard against any potential threats that may arise, as it has been recently discovered that terrorists are now targeting low threat zones in planning deviant activities."
Meanwhile, Minister of Civil Aviation John Maginley highlighted the importance of airport safety and security to a small, independent tourism-based economy.
“The industry has grown considerably since the September 11 attacks on the United States, and we have had to make many timely adjustments to keep on par with industry standards thereby keeping our airport operating efficiently," he said.
Maginely considers the start of airport infrastructural upgrades and improvements a commitment to the process of continuous development.
He said, “Antigua and Barbuda is committed to continue in our support of the regional activities Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA), and I congratulate you on the work being done, irrespective of limited funding.”
The annual seminars are organised immediately before the regional group meetings to inform participants on the latest developments in AVSEC so they are prepared for the discussions.
Director General of ECCA Donald McPhail outlined three important conditions deemed necessary for the future development of an effective Civil Aviation Security and Facilitation (CASF). It is estimated that the personnel in the CASF must be competent to carry out their duties, understanding what they do and why they do it; those in authority must support and contribute to CASF and the travelling public must be aware of and recognise the need for CASF.
Another aviation partner, the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), was represented by Regional Director Michiel Vreedenburgh, who views the seminar as a follow-up to the high-level regional aviation security conference in Caracas last February, which considered AVSEC critical issues and priorities and adopted a joint statement which agreed on collective actions to be taken; regional co-operation, training, technical assistance, and capacity building.
Vreedenburgh said the seminar is a reflection of all of the above.