Aviation DG Highlights Security & Efficiency at FAL.2024 Global Summit in Saudi Arabia

Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA).jpg

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

The Director General of the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA), Musayeroh Barrie, delivered a crucial address at the Facilitation 2024 (FAL.2024) Global Summit, held from May 20-22, 2024, at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The summit, organized under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), focused on improving global aviation security and enhancing the passenger experience.

In her closing panel address on “Facilitating the Air Traveller Journey” on May 22, Musayeroh Barrie emphasized the importance of proactive measures to counter evolving threats to civil aviation. She detailed various security challenges, including insider threats, cyber-attacks, drone-related risks, and armed assaults on airport landside areas. Despite Sierra Leone’s modest aviation sector, Barrie stressed that these issues are globally relevant.

“As the traveling population continues to increase, Governments, airlines, and airports must adapt their processes to maintain safety and security while enabling a smooth facilitation process,” Musayeroh Barrie said. She underscored the goal of streamlining processes, reducing congestion at departure control points and enhancing passenger and crew experiences worldwide while maintaining high security standards.

The Director General proposed several strategies to achieve those goals:

– Airport Design: Terminal buildings should facilitate passenger processing within 60 minutes outbound and 40 minutes inbound, including provisions for Persons with Reduced Mobility (PRMs).

– Training and Awareness: Personnel from key facilitation agencies should be well-versed in ICAO Annexes 9 and 17, emphasizing the link between security and facilitation. Ongoing training and awareness sessions on emerging security issues are crucial.

– Agency Roles: Musayeroh Barrie outlined the roles of various agencies involved in airport operations, including airport operators, immigration, customs, security, port health, and airlines. Each has specific responsibilities to ensure smooth and secure passenger processing.

She highlighted Sierra Leone’s progress through the ICAO assistance mission in 2021, which provided virtual training for stakeholders on implementing Annex 9. She also mentioned the development of an Airport Facilitation Program to streamline passenger and baggage processing.

Additionally, the Civil Aviation Director General discussed the formation of a National Air Transport Facilitation Committee to address facilitation and security issues collaboratively. According to her, Sierra Leone has also approved a national health emergency response plan, incorporating lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure coordinated responses to health emergencies through simulation exercises.

With support from the UNOCT program and national authorities, Sierra Leone has developed and approved Advance Passenger Information (API) regulations, managed by the Central Intelligence Security Agency. The country is also preparing to join the API & Public Key Directory (PKD) and train airport staff on pandemic and disruptive passenger behavior procedures.

To enhance passenger experience, customs has installed a cargo scanner for inbound passengers, an escalator for PRMs, and designated routes for staff, VIPs, and cabin crew to reduce congestion at screening points.

Musayeroh Barrie concluded by highlighting the importance of written programs at both airport and national levels to define roles and responsibilities clearly, ensuring all players in the passenger journey are aligned in addressing facilitation challenges.

The FAL.2024 summit provided a platform for aviation leaders to share insights and strategies, reinforcing the global commitment to secure and efficient air travel.



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