‘Insight, Preparedness and Assistance’ – the three critical elements for risk management in the aviation industry

MedAire and Control Risks, who provide aviation security services to mitigate risks to crew, passengers, and aircraft, have released a joint position paper on best practices to proactively prepare for – and mitigate – risks within the aviation industry. The document, ‘A Holistic Approach: Insight, Preparedness and Assistance’, proposes that aviation organisations incorporate these three critical elements to best secure their resources, operations and people.

The paper highlights that safe and secure operations require a collaborative approach from the many public and private stakeholders across the aviation sector and the number, type and complexity of these stakeholder relationships will continue to grow as routes are expanded to meet increasing demand. It describes that all of these stakeholders – including commercial airline operators, business and general aviation operators, airports – and their security initiatives are interdependent. “Remove, marginalise, or neglect one component and the system falters,” it says.

To address these interdependencies, MedAire and Control Risks propose a holistic approach to “proactively prepare for – and mitigate – risks” where the interconnection of these three critical elements “will help organisations secure their people, resources, and operations”.

This viewpoint supports calls from leading industry associations, including IATA and ICAO, calling for stronger partnerships between industry stakeholders to develop measures to counter threats to aviation. The paper says the three elements its features “are core to an integrated approach to aviation security; accounting for the complex interdependencies among aviation stakeholders”.

Insight is defined as the process a company undergoes to fully understand their operations and business needs in a volatile, complex and/or uncertain environment. Preparedness is the application of appropriate mitigation efforts to ensure vulnerabilities are minimised or, best case scenario, eliminated. Meanwhile, Assistance is centred on supporting their people during security breaches and/or incidents.

“Real world issues need real world support. At the core of all aviation operations are people. Flight departments must have processes in place, as part of their aviation security programmes, to mitigate and respond to risks affecting their people and operations,” says John Cauthen, aviation security director at MedAire.

The current threat and risk environment demands that aviation security remain among the highest priorities for states and the global international community. This reminder from ICAO comes as the aviation industry moves into an era of growing demand for air travel and the increased movement of cargo and goods.

The paper explains that the industry “must build capability and capacity” across the sector to prevent disruption from “motivated, capable, and well-resourced antagonists.” Business decisions, strategic planning, and aviation operations “must consider the global, regional, and local security environment; and, through the development of both public and private partnerships, to identify and embed” security best practices.

“No single entity is robust enough to mitigate all the risks facing the aviation sector. A multilateral approach is required,” it concludes.