Air Transport


The aviation industry or air transport is one of the most sensitive industries today especially after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Almost all countries have tightened security within their airports through their local civil aviation authorities. Over the years, the industry has seen tremendous growth through good regulations, systemic facilitation guided by the use of ultra-modern information communication technologies, high safety standards as well as gigantic investments in the current trends of automation. This facilitation is also compounded by good relations or well-structured consultative mechanisms with government agencies like the customs union employees who are situated in regional, local and international airports.

On the other side of the story the provision of airport, aircraft, passenger and cargo security has increasingly led to delays, passenger discomforts, intermittent earnings in the aviation industry, collapse of local tourism in many countries, as well as the loss of customer confidence in the services provided as well as good will.



The United Nations commission for Europe has led to wide rage acceptance of the fact that trade facilitation could be defined in a simple manner as the process of simplifying and harmonizing all procedures associated with international trade and any information channels that might be associated with them.

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Civil aviation authorities on the other hand have been unable to come up with a congruent definition of aviation security. Even in the wider sense, there is no universally acceptable definition of security. For the purposes of analyzing this paper we shall assume that aviation security generally refers to the mechanisms of surveillance, inspection and supervision of passengers and their luggage’s as well as cargo in all areas under the jurisdiction of an airport including the reception counters.


Airport security is supposed to provide a compromising role to facilitation in order to enable the smooth running of the aviation industry. Although this is not always the case, there has been a remarkable interrelationship between the two roles in harmonizing the aviation industry.

In the passenger, handling segment the introduction of biometric strips for identification of passengers has had positive effects. In this field, it has become easier to identify passengers and this has reduced the necessity for stringent identification processes.

This has resulted in reducing unnecessary delays or long queues before departures; in addition, it has helped to improve security, as the biometrics is almost 100 percent tamper proof. Such arrangements have further reduced the operating costs of not only the firms involved in the industry but also the cost of local authorities that are supposed to provide general security in the airports.

In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, many passenger flights restricted the kind and quantity of luggage passengers could carry on board. This has facilitated quicker inspection of passengers as well as increasing aviation security since most of the luggage left is now usually

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transported by specific cargo flights that have no passengers on board.

In the cargo operations division increased security not only on the handling of lofty price consignments but also the handling of hazardous or dangerous commodities has led to the facilitation of better and safer transportation mechanisms.

Although airport facilitation and security may be seen as compromising elements it is usually the case than not that whenever there are, pertinent issues that need to be addressed the security side usually supersedes the facilitation.

Thus, despite their interrelationship it is necessary to have aviation industry forums setup for purposes of consultation on facilitation and security issues from time to time.

In such forums, issues of legitimacy or legality of certain security decisions that appear to be counter-productive or counter-facilitative needs to be addressed. In such cases, a compromise should be reached in order for the security to be maintained and facilitation within the industry guaranteed.

It may be true to say that many facilitation goals or objectives have failed to be realized because of the security initiatives or decisions undertaken. This has resulted in people adopting alternative transportation systems because they feel violated by excessive security checks at airports. In addition to this there appears to be a lack of interest within the concerned stakeholders to address these issues.

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To promote a symbiotic relationship between facilitation and security many governments have failed to entertain alternative transportation of cargo e.g. by rail, road or by sea. Surprisingly these modes are cheaper than air transport and if utilized guided by laid down procedures and policies they would go a long way in facilitating aviation security.

To combine civil aviation security and facilitation is not an easy task. That is why from the onset of the September 11 terrorist attacks many countries have tried to set up a national strategy for aviation security. This has been prompted by the fact that the aviation industry is very precarious. It is a major facilitator of international trade through the movement of people, mail, and cargo from various points to various destinations globally.

Due to this fact certain governments or civil aviation authorities have gone ahead to ban certain aircrafts or airlines from operating in their airports. This decision has helped to facilitate aviation operations since all airlines will be constantly being trying to meet certain security features or elements. This will ultimately go a long way in harmonizing the facilitation and security of the aviation industry.


Despite the interrelationship between facilitation and security, we have to realize that the security side is more important especially in these days of neo-terrorism. It would be unwise to have excellent facilitation if our lives will always be on danger the moment we enter international airports.

Thus, in this sense it is better to have an acceptable security system in place and then trying ways that will help in formulation of facilitation systems that will compensate the security

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arrangements. The only we can achieve this security is by integrating the global activities of all private and public aviation security in to a well coordinated chain that will help to reduce air vulnerabilities, prevent, detect or deter aviation security threats.


The analysis of this paper was aimed at finding out the nature of the relationship that exists between the concepts of facilitation and security in the field of aviation security operation. Many scholars have tried to argue that facilitation and security can be equated to the two sides of a coin. What most of these people have failed to realize is that you can never see the two sides of the said coin at the same time. With respect to this am afraid to say that unfortunately whenever this coin is tossed the probability is usually that the security side of the coin will always carry the day.

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Henry H. Willis.2004. Evaluating the Security of the Global Containerized Supply Chain. Rand Corporation

Paul, Wilkinson. Brian M, Jenkins. 1999. Aviation Terrorism and Security.

London: Rout ledge.

Raven, John.2004. Facilitation and security in air transport. TIACA

Trade facilitation and the new security environment: issues for … [PDF]. Available at: