Airport Business

MAY 2015

The airport professional's source for airport industry news, articles, events, and careers.

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MANAGING AIRPORTS TODAY 36 airportbusiness May 2015 S ecurity reportedly accounts for 25 per- cent of an airport's operating budget, with the vast majority concentrated on protecting terminals. Perimeter protec- tion often takes a back seat—far, far in the back. The reasoning is straightfor- ward: While perimeter breaches happen, so far they've mostly only caused reputational damage and some embarrassment. Since 9/11, there's been tremendous empha- sis placed on airport security, and rightfully so. But as time passes, and the memory of this tragedy dissipates, budgets become tighter. And since a perimeter breach has yet to lead directly to widespread human injury or harm, perimeter security remains a lesser priority. While unsecured perimeters haven't result- ed in catastrophic damage, that doesn't mean they aren't a vulnerability. Airport perimeters span miles and are the largest unmanned areas of airports. Typically security is limited to rov- ing guards patrolling fences, and is sometimes supplemented by surveillance video or other sensors. In 2012, $69 million was invested in air- port perimeter security measures in the United States. To put this into context, the TSA's total annual budget for aviation security is more than $4.9 billion. More concerning, budgets are potentially shrinking. Frost & Sullivan estimates that by 2017, airports will reduce spending on perimeter security to approxi- mately $47.5 million per year. Comparatively European airports attribute more resources to perimeter security, said John Hernandez, an aerospace defense senior indus - try analyst at Frost & Sullivan. But even they are not immune to a breach. In February 2013, thieves dressed as police officers driving official-looking cars breached the perimeter fence of Brussels Airport in Belgium, and waited for nearly eight minutes while $50 million in diamonds was moved from an armored security van onto a plane. Once the consignment was loaded, the thieves moved in. It took them only two minutes and 50 seconds to board the plane and make off with the jewels. PERIMETER BREACHES: NOT UNCOMMON So far in the United States, perimeter intrusions haven't been as nefarious, but they are plentiful. According to the TSA, there were approximate - ly 25,000 airport perimeter security breaches at U.S. airports between November 2001 and July 2011. Since then, there have been a number of highly publicized incidents. The most notable perimeter security breach occurred in April 2014 when a 15-year- old boy hopped the fence at Mineta San Jose International Airport, randomly picked a plane, and hid in its wheel well until he arrived safely in Maui. Since then, the San Jose airport has experienced four additional perimeter breaches, the most recent occurring in March. A similar incident occurred a few years ear- lier at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, N.C. However, in this case the teenage stowaway fell to his death when the plane's landing gear dropped during the final approach to its destination. In another example of a perimeter securi- ty breach, a stranded jet skier in Jamaica Bay Protect the Perimeter Why all airports need to up the ante for perimeter protection By Rony Vexelman, NICE Systems

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