The relaxation of travel restrictions means different things to different people. As well as reopening the possibility for visiting family and friends or holidays abroad it is a critical time for supporting trade and investment by linking businesses to markets they have not been able to effectively reach. This international connectivity is vital for us as a trading nation.
The UK has the world’s third largest aviation network. The size of this network enables a more open and global UK.
The establishment of reactive Air Bridges across Europe, managed on a traffic light system, goes some way to increasing travel. But, however important the focus on health and safety for all regarding COVID-19, it should not negate the importance of enhancing security overall.
We can improve our border security by ensuring the security levels at airports directly linked to the UK is of a standard replicable to our own. There are already positive steps being taken to ensure that security reaches beyond our borders:
All of these are welcome improvements but are focused on technology, relationships and security force cooperation and integration.
The key to a strong security culture in any location is the people; all of them, inclusive from the security manager to the cleaner to the retail worker. To use a well-known phrase, security is everyone’s responsibility.
These investments to securing our air bridge could be improved upon by regulating the standard of security awareness training for anyone working for or on behalf of a UK carrier abroad. General Security Awareness Training (GSAT) would fit this requirement and would enforce an initial standard that is acceptable within the UK now that we have left the EU. This would also ensure that a base level of insider threat training was delivered in line with CAA requirements.