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Secretary Napolitano Meets with Global Airline Industry Leaders in Geneva to Strengthen Aviation Security Standards

Release Date: 
January 22, 2010

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

Talks Build on Ministerial Consensus Reached Yesterday in Spain to Coordinate on Urgent Enhancement of International Aviation Security Standards

Geneva—Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today met with members of the International Air Transport Association (IATA)—which represents approximately 230 airlines and more than 90 percent of the world’s air traffic—in Geneva as part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to work with the airline industry to meet both international and U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security standards.

“Effective aviation security relies upon close coordination between airlines, government and law enforcement to identify, deter and disrupt threats,” said Secretary Napolitano. “I am committed to working closely with the airline industry and my international counterparts to strengthen global aviation security standards for passengers traveling to the United States and around the world.”

During today’s meeting—which included IATA CEO and Director General Giovanni Bisignani and leaders from approximately 20 airlines from across Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and North America—Secretary Napolitano emphasized the airline industry’s important role in implementing stronger and more effective international security measures to protect the traveling public.

She outlined four broad areas for international public-private collaboration that will help bolster efforts to protect the aviation system while facilitating legitimate travel: improving information collection and analysis; increasing information sharing and collaboration in passenger vetting; enhancing international security standards; and deploying new screening technology.

Secretary Napolitano also met with officials from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Geneva on these issues.

Secretary Napolitano’s trip began yesterday in Toledo, Spain, where she met with her European counterparts to discuss ways to strengthen international aviation security standards—the first of a series of global meetings intended to bring about broad consensus on new international aviation security standards and procedures.

“Yesterday, my European counterparts and I reached consensus on a way forward to strengthen the international civil aviation system through enhanced information collection and sharing, cooperation on technological development, and modernized aviation security standards,” said Secretary Napolitano.

Earlier this month, Secretary Napolitano dispatched Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute, Assistant Secretary for Policy David Heyman and other senior Department officials to meet with government leaders and major international airport executives in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and South America to review airport security procedures and work on ways to collectively bolster our tactics for defeating terrorists.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does not conduct screening in international airports. All last point of departure flights to the United States must meet minimum standards set by ICAO as well as any additional security standards set by the TSA.

Following the attempted terrorist attack on Dec. 25, TSA issued a new Security Directive, developed in consultation with law enforcement officials and domestic and international partners, which mandates that every individual flying into the U.S. from anywhere in the world who holds a passport issued by or is traveling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest undergo enhanced screening.

The Directive also increases the use of enhanced screening technologies and mandates threat-based and random additional screening for passengers on U.S.-bound international flights. DHS also bolstered security at domestic airports through additional explosive detection canine teams, law enforcement personnel, Behavior Detection Officers, enhanced screening and other measures both seen and unseen.

For more information, visit www.dhs.gov.

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