It’s a cloudy Tuesday morning in Belgium, and a man walks calmly through the concourse. He buys some food and rests for a moment in a massage chair. Suddenly, everything blows up and panic takes over. Blood, debris and scared people. This could be a Hollywood script, but it’s what really happened.
Airport security is a very discussed area in terms of improvements and technological development. However, security changes have to be proactive enough to avoid extreme situations that could happen, and this is not possible when it comes to human behaviour. As we cannot control human behaviour at all, aviation has to establish limits and change rules and regulations in order to improve the security level of the environment.
The worldwide standard determines that there are two types of area in the airport as it refers to security: sterile and non-sterile. The non-sterile area can be described as a public place, and everyone can walk through it without being inspected by any authority. On the other hand, to enter the sterile area every single person has to be inspected and approved in a security pattern defined by the local or worldwide authority. From this area to the destination, the security of a flight is considered extremely high.
There are various methods of inspection, such as metal detectors, police dogs and x-ray scanners. However, even the most advanced development of technology could not contain terrorism: in 2001, the USA were the target of the largest terrorist attack ever seen. Therefore, there comes the question: if the flight that was taken over by the terrorists was supposed to be safe, are airport security systems really effective?
Security barriers in the airport are helpful, but they are not totally efficient. In a situation like the Brussels airport terrorist attack, how could the tragedy be predicted? It is totally impossible to figure that a correlation between the news, the politics, and extremist groups could lead to a terrorist action right in the middle of a Tuesday morning. That’s why airport security needs even more development. In my opinion, countries with high risk of terrorism should convert every single area of an airport to sterile area. By doing so, people would not be allowed to enter an airport without having its belongings inspected.
Lastly, airport security authorities should not forget a very important rule: act proactively.
Gustavo Del Rios de Souza
PUCRS Aeronautical Science Student