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ICAO reviewing laptop and device restrictions to balance safety and security concerns

Speaking at the IATA AGM in Cancun, Mexico, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu stressed to airline CEOs that the security and safety risks must be effectively balanced when considering any restrictions on passengers’ personal electronic devices (PEDs).

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“We recognise that the number of business and pleasure travellers wishing to carry their laptops or other devices into aircraft in the years ahead will continue to increase, with those devices becoming more and more important to their productivity and social needs,” President Aliu highlighted.

“Our guiding priority in the ICAO Council, when we review this matter this fall during our 212th Session, will be to ensure that all related security and safety risks are fully considered and prudently balanced.” 

“ICAO has now established a Multidisciplinary Cargo Safety Group to consider the combined safety, security and facilitation aspects of this issue,” the President continued, “and just last week our Aviation Security Panel recommended a new Task Force be established to further review the security risks from improvised explosive devices which can be concealed in passenger devices. We are working very rapidly to ensure this work will be completed in time to permit the Council’s comprehensive review later this year.”

ICAO helps to coordinate global responses to aviation security risks, and last October, at its 39th Assembly, States asked that it develop a new Global Aviation Security Plan to aid those efforts. The first draft of the new global plan was endorsed by the Aviation Security Panel meeting that recently concluded, and will be made available for review by the ICAO Council later this month.

While speaking on security at the IATA AGM, President Aliu also highlighted that cybersecurity continues to be a matter of serious concern to the air transport sector, which began coordinating its threat assessments and response planning several years ago.

He stressed to the IATA airline CEOs that “The definition of this threat context is especially relevant today, given that new System-wide Information Management (SWIM) provisions will begin to come into force as of 2018, making us more connected and integrated as a global network than ever before.”

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