SLCAA DG Musayeroh Barrie Addresses Emerging Threats to Civil Aviation at FAL.2024 Summit

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

The Director General of the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA), Musayeroh Barrie, delivered a critical speech at the Facilitation 2024 (FAL.2024) Global Summit, held on May 20, 2024 at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The summit, hosted under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), aims to enhance global aviation security and passenger experience.

In her address during Session 2 on “Facilitating the Air Traveller Journey,” the Director General emphasized the need for proactive measures to counter the evolving threats to civil aviation, despite Sierra Leone’s relatively modest aviation sector. She outlined various security challenges, including insider threats, cyber-attacks, drone-related risks and armed assaults on airport landside areas.

Key Points from Musayeroh Barrie’s Address:

Dilating on Insider Threats, Musayeroh Barrie, underscored the persistent danger posed by such, which include employees, ex-employees and contractors with privileged access to aviation infrastructure. She advocated for comprehensive pre-employment checks, random oversight activities, behavioral detection, stringent standard operating procedures and general security awareness training to mitigate those risks.

On ,Cyber Security, highlighting the increasing reliance on technology, she stressed the importance of robust Cybersecurity measures adding how although Sierra Leone has not yet faced cyber-attacks, however, policies are in place to secure digital systems used by key aviation service providers. She informed that training programs are being funded to enhance the cyber competencies of aviation security personnel.

With regards to Drones, the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority Director General maintained that their proliferation poses a significant threat to aviation security. She referenced the 2018 Gatwick Airport incident as a cautionary example intimating how Sierra Leone has instituted regulations mandating drone registration and is preparing for the anticipated rise in the use of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) across various industries.

Turning her attention to Armed Attacks Musayeroh Barrie highlighted recent global incidents of armed attacks on airports and outlined the strict access control measures, surveillance and emergency protocols implemented at Freetown International Airport to address such threats.

During the Q&A session, the Director General shared insights on the initiatives implemented over the past year to enhance aviation safety and security in Sierra Leone. These include comprehensive safety audits, enhanced training programs, stricter regulatory oversight and upgraded airport security measures aligned with international standards.

She also highlighted collaborative efforts with international aviation bodies like ICAO and regional entities such as the Banjul Accord Group. These partnerships, according to her, aim to harmonize regulatory frameworks and improve regional aviation safety and efficiency.

On Looking Ahead Musayeroh Barrie’s remarks at the FAL.2024 Summit underscore Sierra Leone’s commitment to addressing emerging aviation security threats through continuous assessment, inter-agency collaboration and proactive planning.

She maintained that the SLCAA’s efforts reflect a broader dedication to ensuring the safety and security of global aviation amid a rapidly changing threat landscape.

The FAL.2024 Global Summit, marking the 75th anniversary of ICAO’s Annex 9 on Facilitation, focuses on improving passenger experience and streamlining border control processes. The event emphasizes the importance of adopting technological advancements and implementing effective public health risk management in aviation.


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