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Aviation Security from a Global Airport Perspective: An Interview with Fraport’s Philipp Kriegbaum

Posted by Analogic Security on 8/13/18 11:16 AM
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We are delighted to share the insights of Philipp Kriegbaum, vice president, corporate safety and security, Fraport Ag. Fraport operates Frankfurt Airport (FRA), which in 2017 served over 64 million passengers and 89 airlines, making it one of the world’s largest aviation hubs. Philipp Kriegbaum has been a key leader at Fraport and the airport security community for two decades. Today, he manages the relationship with legislative bodies on national and international levels for Fraport’s Safety and Security Department and is a past chairman of the ACI EUROPE Aviation Security Committee and the ACI WORLD Security Standing Committee.phillipp kreigbaum

DeteCT: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. You’ve been active in the aviation industry and in the aviation security field for a number of years. Could you provide our readers some background on yourself, and what you do at Fraport? Are there some top priority projects or initiatives related to security that you can share with us?

Phillipp Kreigbaum: Yes, aviation security has been my focus throughout my occupational career. Readers may remember the “German Herbst” 1977, including the hijacking of the Lufthansa aircraft “Landshut” and the kidnapping and homicide of Hans Martin Schleyer, the president of the German Employers Association, by the German terrorist group around Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof. In the aftermath, we young police novices were sent to Frankfurt Airport for patrolling and protecting aircraft.

Eleven years later, then a criminal investigation officer with the Hessen State Police, I joined the Operational Security Center that had been installed by the local government after a bomb had killed three people in the departure hall of Frankfurt Airport.

Six years later, I joined the company operating the airport, then Flughafen Frankfurt Main AG, now Fraport AG. I held various management positions in the field of aviation security and in the Business Development Department of the Traffic and Terminal Management Division. Since 2002, I have managed the relationship with legislative bodies on both national and international levels on behalf of my company’s Corporate Safety and Security Department. I am Fraport’s past chairman of both the ACI EUROPE Aviation Security Committee and the ACI WORLD Security Standing Committee.

Currently, I am busy with a security awareness campaign focusing on landside security. In a joint effort with our regulatory and law enforcement authorities, we are addressing all people working at the airport including employees of airlines, concessionaires, and suppliers. Amongst others, we have had three well-attended podium discussions. Two more will follow later in 2018.

DeteCT: Fraport is a global company, with investments and activities in airports around the world. Do you see any particularly interesting global trends in aviation security? Are there certain areas of security technology such as CT cabin baggage screening technology innovation that you think are promising?

PK: Security precautions, in particular the screening of passengers and their cabin baggage, have proven more and more challenging in the last years. A security filter able to detect bulk and liquid explosives as well as other chemical threats and firearms without stopping or touching the passenger on his way to the aircraft will remain a dream, I am afraid. As opposed to this, the development of new, advanced screening technology, allowing to keep laptops and liquids in the bag, is promising. Given the creativity of terrorists, there is not one technology that can satisfy all our security demands. We will have to find a way leading from the one-size-fits-all to a risk-based screening scheme including differentiation of passengers. In the EU, the different screening schemes for passengers and other persons are a promising step in this direction. Finding the appropriate balance between exploitation of personal data and privacy will prove the most delicate challenge.

“… the biggest challenge for the next generation of security experts will be finding the balance between the use of personal data and providing a secure and comfortable traveling experience.”

DeteCT: You have been a leader in organizations such as IATA and ACI. What can these organizations do to accelerate implementation of better security practices? What changes would you like to see in the next 2-3 years?

PK: It is essential that our representatives build up a continuous relationship between industry and regulators to make our needs transparent and also to understand the needs of the law-making side. IATA and ACI should always strive to have the latest information to share with their members without delay.

With a particular view on the situation in Europe, I am happy to see that the European Commission has recognized that industry representatives share their interest in security as a top priority and can be helpful in the development of new rules, as it happened in the “Implementing Regulation Working Groups” consisting of experts from both industry and authorities. That made sure that operational and economical needs were taken into consideration from the beginning.

A more current example is the Landside Security Working Group managed by ACI EUROPE on behalf of the European Commission. The structure of industry organizations are more flexible than that of a regulatory body, making it easier to bring experts together, to organize meetings and to keep all stakeholders posted with the results. As a member of this working group, I am optimistic that we will end up with useful guidance material to increase the security level in the public areas of airports without adopting binding regulation.

In addition, airports and airlines participate in studies issued by the legislator to find a sustainable data base for their decisions. Frankfurt Airport, for example, is currently participating in the EC One Stop Security Study as well as the EC Passenger Flow Study.

Regulators often ask for the opinion of “the industry,” although there may be detrimental interests within the industry. Technology manufacturers need a solid basis for research and development and want the regulators to set binding and ambitious deadlines for the implementation of new technology, whereas airports are eager to get more time for a proper implementation. Again, the industry organizations can add value to the process if they manage to coordinate interests and make sure that “the industry” is able to forward a common message to the regulator.

DeteCT: The last few years has seen growth in the use of data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc. Are there areas where these technologies could improve aviation security and the passenger experience?

PK: Security experts cheered when body scanners that were able to detect more than pure metal on the body came on the market. Screening of passengers seemed to become more reliable, easier, quicker and less annoying for the passenger. But the public perception was different; people were afraid that their intimacy was compromised, and the German press created the ugly term “Nacktscanner,” meaning that a screener would see a naked body. It took a few years and modifications before the new technology was finally accepted.

“Risk-based screening” is more than a slogan. If the resources available could be distributed according to the risk emanating from a person, these resources could be used much more efficiently. As long as we apply identical security procedures to all passengers, the only way to react on passenger growth is to extend the screening areas and to employ more screeners. But both resources are limited.

However, information is a prerequisite to allocating a level of risk to a person. It surprises me to see how easily people give away private information to social media, internet shops, and banks, and how reluctant they are to have their personal information used for security. I believe the biggest challenge to the next generation of security experts will be finding the balance between the use of personal data and providing a secure and comfortable traveling experience.

Unfortunately, technologies can also be used by our opponents. This is why cyber security is becoming more and more important.

DeteCT: The US TSA is evaluating how to improve its airport security checkpoints. Is there any advice you would give to your counterparts in the USA to ensure that this process is successful?

PK: TSA asking for advice from Europe! That is really a great perspective. But seriously, I believe the joint ACI – IATA Smart Security project is a rich repository of information that could benefit anyone interested in improving security. And it would help a lot if the regulators on both sides of the Atlantic were able to agree on common standards on screening technology and certification of equipment.

DeteCT: As a security technology vendor, we could not agree with you more. We hope you can help make this happen! Good luck with your initiatives at Fraport.

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