Articles taggés avec ‘air transport’

Common rules for safeguarding civil aviation - sky marshals must be “specially selected and trained”

Mercredi 12 mars 2008

The European Parliament adopted a new regulation that aims to ensure a high level of aviation security throughout the EU.It lays down common rules and standards, such as screening of passengers and cabin baggage, access control and aircraft security checks. The regulation also deals with in-flight-security measures, such as the deployment of “sky marshals” and the carriage of weapons on board an aircraft. The conciliation was approved with 583 votes in favour, 21 against and 35 abstentions.

European Parliament and Council representatives were able to strike a deal in conciliation on civil aviation security beginning of January after long and extensive negotiations.

Security programmes at national airport and air carrier level
Common basic security standards include, inter alia, screening of passengers and cabin baggage, access control, screening of hold baggage, aircraft security checks, security controls for cargo and mail, staff recruitment and training as well as patrols and other physical controls.

Security programmes at national airport and air carrier level shall assure that the common rules are applied and maintained.

Member States are free to apply more stringent measures. However, those measures must be “relevant, objective, non-discriminatory and proportional” to the risk that is being addressed.

Sky marshals
For the first time, in-flight security measures such as access to the cockpit, unruly passengers and in-flight security officers (’sky marshals’) are addressed at European level.

The new regulation doesn’t oblige Member States to deploy in-flight security officers.  Each Member State retains the competence to do or not to do so.

Parliament and Council agreed that those Member States that decide to deploy sky marshals must ensure that they are “specially selected and trained”. Strict rules concerning sky marshals were a crucial point for Parliament at the first and second readings.

As regards the carriage of weapons, those must not be carried on board an aircraft (with the exception of those carried in the hold), unless the required security conditions in accordance with national laws have been fulfilled and authorisation has been given by the States involved.

Financing security measures
Each Member State determines the shares of the cost of security measures to be borne respectively by the state, the airport entities, air carriers, other responsible agencies or users. Additionally, the Commission will, no later than 31 December 2008, present a report which will consider what steps need to be taken in order to ensure that security charges are used exclusively to meet security costs, and to “improve the transparency of such charges”. If appropriate, this report will be accompanied by a legislative proposal.

One-stop security checks
Passengers and/or their baggage arriving on flights from third countries that have aviation security standards equivalent to the EU law need not be re-screened. Therefore, agreements between the EU and third countries, which recognise that the security standards applied in the third country are equivalent to the EU standards, should be encouraged.

Entry into force
The regulation enters into force on the twentieth day after publication in the Official Journal and will be applied not later than 24 months after this date.