Tag Archives: Airport Security

‘Ebola – Driving a greater need for video tracking at airports’ (Guest Blog by Jamie Wilson, NICE Systems)

In the last few weeks, management teams at airports around the world have been forced to take fairly drastic action to help safeguard against the spread of Ebola, writes Jamie Wilson. Screening programmes are being introduced to quell public concern and reduce the risk of those individuals exhibiting symptoms from entering a given country without further testing.

An individual may incubate Ebola for many days before exhibiting symptoms but, once a positive diagnosis is confirmed, time is of the essence in retracing that person’s contact with others. Accurate and timely information can help to assess the broader risk and, more importantly, prevent the disease from proliferating still further.

Of course, in an airport environment one source of vital information is the flight manifest, but what about the people who may have come into direct contact with the subject after that?

What about the official who greeted the person at border control? Or the on-site coffee shop worker who sold the individual an Americano and a sandwich?

Then there’s the Bureau de Change operator who exchanged currency for the passenger, and the driver of the airport shuttle bus who transferred 75 people – including the affected individual – from the terminal to the airport car parks.

It would be virtually impossible to retrace the person’s footsteps without trawling through hours and hours of CCTV footage, particularly so when you’re considering a large, sprawling environment such as an airport – which are small towns in their own right – where CCTV cameras are ubiquitous.

How would an investigator know where to look, or even what they were looking for? Quite literally, it would be a task akin to searching for a needle in a haystack.

Jamie Wilson of NICE Systems

Jamie Wilson of NICE Systems

This is where real-time video forensics can greatly assist the authorities. Using the latest technologies, it’s possible to locate a person of interest and retrace his or her movements across a surveillance network in mere minutes. Those results can then be viewed on a map. Links to related video footage then show all other individuals with whom the person came into contact.

The Ebola threat is still evolving, but it’s very clear that airport management teams and front line staff will have a critical role to play in preventing this deadly disease from spreading across borders.

As news reports have already shown, not all solutions are likely to be completely foolproof, but airport management teams can – and should – use every tool at their disposal in order to help control and contain the present threat.

Jamie Wilson is Security Marketing Manager (EMEA) at NICE Systems

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Navtech Radar focuses attentions on PIDS for airport projects

Navtech Radar has installed Perimeter Intrusion Detection Systems (PIDS) at 16 major European airports in a bid to address client requirements in relation to security breaches which can result in considerable operational losses at such locations.

Navtech Radar is now one of the world’s leading suppliers of radar-based Perimeter Intrusion Detection Systems (PIDS) for airports. Having installed 16 AdvanceGuard system solutions, and with a considerable number of airport-based projects currently undergoing installation, Navtech Radar is delivering PIDS compliant with the standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Security Manual 8973.

Preventative security measures are crucial for passenger safety and confidence, as stipulated by the ICAO and EU 300/2008 and 2320/2002 regulations.

Speaking about this issue, Navtech Radar’s business development manager Jason Burger explained: “The uninterrupted running of airport operations is imperative, as unlawful interference culminating in a security breach can result in huge operational losses due to the time taken for evacuation procedures or the temporary closure of an airport.”

Multi-radar surveillance at an airport

Multi-radar surveillance at an airport

Large area to secure

Typically, commercial airports harbour extremely large perimeter areas, with many of them in excess of 15 km. Those perimeter zones can be both expensive and difficult to secure, most notably in adverse weather conditions.

Burger continued: “Navtech Radar’s frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) 76 GHz technology is ideally suited to this challenge. The robust design of the radars, coupled with their ability to operate on a 24/7 basis in all types of light and weather conditions, and even in dense fog, renders the AdvanceGuard solution a preferred technology for the challenges faced by airport operators and their security teams.”

With low installation and ongoing maintenance costs, end users will be keen to learn that the overall cost of ownership associated with AdvanceGuard is very competitive when compared with traditional fence detection systems.

Navtech’s radar surveillance technology can deliver further cost savings by re-addressing the balance between technology and physical security guarding solutions. With 360° radius detection offering a range of up to 1,000 metres of manned detection, Navtech’s radar systems are described as “the perfect solution” for perimeter and critical security restricted area surveillance.

Burger added: “Multiple overlapping radar sensors may be networked to offer site-wide security coverage for the end user which is controlled and monitored via a single PC running Navtech Radar’s sophisticated Physical Security Information Management software.” The latter is named Witness.

Jason Burger: business development manager at Navtech Radar

Jason Burger: business development manager at Navtech Radar

Reference sites: AdvanceGuard in action

To date, AdvanceGuard reference sites include Ostrava in the Czech Republic, Valencia (Spain) and Bristol Airport in the UK.

An additional benefit of the Navtech Radar AdvanceGuard solutuion is that it has the potential to be used as a surface movement system, meaning that the radars would serve a dual purpose for the end user customer.

Fernando Garcia Rodrigues (project manager for equipment and facilities in the Operations, Security and Services Directorate at Valencia Airport) explained: “We had a number of key issues we wanted to address by way of a new wide area surveillance solution. We needed to detect intrusions to the airport area, follow any intruders once they were inside the airport and avoid expensive civil works. We had to cover a huge area but had no tube bank or any other canalisation available for cabling. We also wanted to minimise communication and power costs.”

In addition, there was a desire to have the same alarm rate and response in any weather or light conditions and, at the same time, present a friendly and easy-to-use system for the operators.

“Now,” continued Rodrigues, “we have a solution in place with a very low false alarm rate. We can distinguish between ‘friend’ and ‘intruder’ and, in terms of the latter, follow them on site. This makes it much easier and faster to direct the intercepting security patrols.”

End user experiences at Bristol Airport and Ostrava Airport

Chris Ware, head of security at Bristol Airport, has also spoken of the AdvanceGuard solution.

“We selected AdvanceGuard based on all of its all-weather capabilities and operational experience at other airports,” outlined Ware. “A further major factor is that the solution demonstrates the lowest false alarm rate.”

Ware added: “We tend to experience a good deal of fog in Bristol. It was critical that the new solution could cope with that, as well as any heavy rain and snow. The AdvanceGuard solution also gives us superior track and trace capability in comparison to other types of technology solutions. To date, the system has met all of our expectations.”

PIDS in action

PIDS in action

Bristol Airport’s head of security also said: “I would like to highlight the fact that the system benefits also include an automatic tracking capability and rule-and zone setting flexibility within the Witness2 software suite. The system’s alarm log and operator acknowledgement features provide an audit trail for both employer and employee. This is vital, as members of staff can be seen to have followed procedures because there’s now a security system in place that documents they’ve done so.”

Petr Voráč, head of security for Ostrava Airport, explained: “In comparison with other radar systems which use just one long range radar unit, the Navtech Radar solution was better because the airfield has a non-uniform shape. One large unit would have given us problems with ‘dead zones’ where there would have been no detection due to ground slopes and non-linear fence lines.”

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MITIE TSM expands hold baggage screening contract at Heathrow Airport

MITIE Group plc has extended its partnership to provide hold baggage screening (HBS) and immigration presentation services at Heathrow Airport Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 4.

The contract is worth approximately £6 million per annum, with Heathrow’s Terminal 2 now being added to MITIE’s security remit at the location.

Over 300 staff will be working under MITIE’s Total Security Management (TSM) business, which was first awarded the contract for Terminal 3 in 1997.

MITIE TSM: providing airport security solutions at Heathrow

MITIE TSM: providing airport security solutions at Heathrow

In 2011, Terminals 1 and 4 were added and a three-year extension to the contract signed.

The immigration presentation services MITIE also delivers at Heathrow Airport will contribute an additional £700,000 each year, and see 50 more specialist staff working on site.

Bob Forsyth, managing director of MITIE’s TSM business, said: “I’m delighted to have extended our close working relationship with the Heathrow AOC and its members. Our specialist aviation team goes from strength to strength in the sector.”

Forsyth concluded: “We look forward to working with our clients at Heathrow and its partners to ensure airline and airport safety for what is one of the busiest airports in Europe.”

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Challenge of airport perimeter security highlighted by Christmas Day breaches

In his latest Research Note, Blake Kozak (senior analyst for access control, fire and security at IHS) comments on the recent perimeter security breaches at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and Newark International Airport in the United States.

Protecting the perimeter of airports remains a difficult task across the US. On 25 December 2013, perimeter fence breaches occurred at two separate airports: Newark, New Jersey and Phoenix, Arizona.

In 2013, IHS estimated electronic perimeter security installations at airports in the US to be worth about $25 million for the hardware and software alone, or about 9% of the perimeter security market in the US.

The breach at Newark went unnoticed for 24 hours, when security footage was reviewed and revealed the trespass. At the time of the incident, Newark reportedly had CCTV and motion sensors in place which alarmed. However, there was a significant delay in response.

At Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, no electronic perimeter security systems are in place, with the airport operator instead relying on layered physical barriers, cameras and airport employees.

Newark International Airport

Newark International Airport

As of 2013, no update has been made for any guidelines surrounding the requirement for perimeter security at airports. Most of the requirements are for physical fencing, not electronic security.

Additionally, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) isn’t directly responsible for all security functions within an airport, and perimeter security is one of those areas.

Perimeter security is primarily the responsibility of airport operators. That said, the airport operators must adhere to certain security plans that meet Federal standards.

The budget for perimeter security falls with the airport operator and is not funded by the TSA. Two examples of regulations that must be abided by include 49 CFR Part 1542 and 14 CFR 139.

Overall, IHS expects that airport management teams will continue to invest in perimeter security and the investment will be for technologies such as fence sensors, radars and video analytics – all sensor types which will not be impacted by the noise and vibrations of aircraft.

Since many, airports have a limited budget, they must work to win grants in order to procure such a solution.

For their part, manufacturers should continue to work with airport operators in order to provide the most cost-effective solutions and evidence of a solution’s reliability and proven probability of detection in real-life Case Studies.

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