Transport Security Expo, the much acclaimed event for industry professionals working to deliver meaningful security in an ever changing threat environment, has once again surpassed all expectation and witnessed a significant increase in both exhibitor and attendee numbers.
The annual event, which brings governmental, law enforcement, security service and industry leaders together to debate issues and develop solutions, saw in excess of a hundred exhibitors display hardware and software to almost four thousand attendees, during its recent two-day gathering at the Olympia Exhibition and Conference Center in London.
“Transport Security Expo has long held a reputation as the go to event for professionals within the aviation, maritime, supply chain and public transportation industries. In our eleventh consecutive year we are delighted that it retained continued relevance in governmental and industry circles as we continue to fight the menace of global terrorism,” says Peter Jones, Chief Executive, Nineteen Events.
Figures recently released figures show that 3866 people from 88 countries attended the event and reveal continued high-level concern about security across all modes of transports.
Pressing focus on IT
Cyber security, one of the most deeply troubling of current issues, took centre stage at the latest event. This has become a major concern for regulators given that cyberspace has become a veritable playground for state actors and criminal gangs intent on inflicting physical and financial harm.
The UK Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) recently stated that the cyber security situation is becoming critical in the aviation world, given the emergence in service of eEnabled aircraft and work on various Air Traffic Management (ATM) projects having started, despite no concept of the information security architecture that civil aviation will require having been agreed.
The cyber security issue is often though of as the prevention of malicious attack, damage or unauthorised access to the computer systems we depend on nowadays, but should be considered more holistically as protection of networks, computer systems, programmes and data from malicious attack, damage and unauthorised access.
The traditional approach to cyber security has been to focus most resources on the most crucial system components and protect against the biggest known threats, which has necessitated leaving some less important system components undefended and some less dangerous risks not protected against.
This approach is considered insufficient in an environment where hardly a day goes by without news of a cyber attack against some well-known entity or other impacting upon their general business operations.
The pressing necessity to focus on cyber security should perhaps also go hand in hand with the increasing need to address operational resilience in the event of attack or other untoward event.
Two major events toward the end of last year – a 12 hour voice communication outage at the Swanwick Air Traffic Control (ATC) centre and a near day long power failure at Gatwick Airport – have prompted renewed calls for the aviation sector to take more than a passing interest in the resilience of its operations.
The first incident occurred during the early morning split of air traffic control sectors designed to accommodate the daytime increase in aircraft movements through the available airspace. A glitch in the million or so lines of software code running the air traffic control system, prevented controllers passing vital information to counterparts at home and overseas.
Eurocontrol, the organisation responsible for air navigation safety across Europe, said that the failure led directly to 1300 flights being severely delayed.
“This incident highlights once again the importance of the robustness of the technical systems supporting air traffic management and the need for contingency planning at network level to minimise the impact of any failures on the travelling public," it added.
The second incident happened in the midst of the pre Christmas storms which hit the south of the country.
Gatwick airport’s North Terminal was left without power following flooding at several regional substations, which resulted in key systems failing and tens of thousands of passengers delayed. It happened just two months after airport operations were severely impacted by another storm and those affected complained of a lack of information.
The Civil Aviation Authority said it expected Gatwick's management to examine exactly what caused the chaos before it makes a final decision on what action can be taken to prevent further similar issues.
Resilience in the face of adversity should be a fundamental requirement determining outcomes in the public facing transport sector.
Meanwhile, potentially significant change is afoot in how the European aviation goes about ensuring security at the point of delivery, as new rules on the vexed issue of liquids come into force.
Europe will begin easing restrictions on the carriage of liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) in airline passenger hand baggage at the end of January and expects that the ban will be lifted irrespective of destination altogether by 2016.
Passengers will be permitted to board connecting flights from EU airports with duty-free liquids purchased from any airport and on board aircraft operated by any carrier from the end of the month provided the bottles are sealed in tamper evident bags (STEBs).
Europe will follow a three-phase roadmap towards abolishing the liquids restrictions, with subsequent phases expected to lead to the adoption of checkpoint explosive detection technology. That goal cannot come a moment too soon for travellers who have grown weary with the onerous restrictions.
The shift in rules on this issue is one of the many reasons that prompted more airports than ever to attend the most recent event.
New next year
Amongst early highlights for Transport Security Expo 2014:
New dates 2-3 December
- Event moves to Olympia’s National Hall – a much larger venue in which to house this ever growing and highly important event.
- A plenary and centerpiece conference incorporating the aviation, maritime, supply chain and public transportation industries, will form the focal point.
- Supported by an extensive exhibition, industry leading knowledge centric workshops, private briefings and a VIP programme.
- All contained on a single floor.
Further changes and new features will be announced as planning for this year’s event gets underway in earnest in the coming weeks.
“We have a great number of ideas up our sleeves so it’s advisable to watch this space, not to mention being ready to book early to avoid disappointment if you plan to exhibit or visit. Almost three quarters of the available exhibitor space for next year is already taken and the remaining is fully expected to be booked rapidly,” concludes Peter Jones.
Transport Security Expo has remained a key event amongst governmental regulators and industry professionals for over a decade. The only event of it’s kind to constantly evolve in step with the threat horizon, it delivers a unique perspective on current issues and future trends annually. Transport Security Expo features an extensive exhibition, in-depth conference programme, key workshops and a valuable array of other features. Transport Security Expo will convene again in the National Hall at the Olympia Exhibition & Conference Centre in London on 2 -3 December 2014.