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Latest Stakeholder Advisory Group for Aviation Security (SAGAS) meeting

The EU’s SAGAS is a formally constituted consultation body that meets approximately four times per year. Although harmonised security regulations are subject to continuous evaluation and improvement, member states are still responsible for the assessment of risk and threat to their own state and may therefore attempt to impose more stringent measures on airlines and at airports.

The latest meeting of SAGAS has held at the offices of the European Commission in Brussels on 13 June 2019.

The first agenda item was a debrief from the previous days AVSEC meeting which hinted that the date of implementation of the European Commission's Aviation Security Strategy will be 31 December 2020. Additionally, there was an update about the latest airport inspection activity, with inspections undertaken at various airports in The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Denmark and Cyprus.

ICAO provided an overview of the latest international developments, with emphasis on the continued efforts to expedite training for stakeholders regarding cyber security. Following on, EASA outlined their Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) published on 27 May with an extended four-month consultation period. All comments will be reviewed at the European Strategic Coordination Platform with a final opinion anticipated before summer. To support the NPA, EASA are hosting a workshop on 2 July at Eurocontrol with the aim of explaining all the details and answering stakeholder questions.

The subject of radicalisation was briefly covered. Although it was agreed there should be a balance between freedom of speech and radicalisation, stakeholders should develop their security culture with training and awareness campaigns to better understand and tackle the threat of radicalisation of employees.

ACI Europe provided an interesting presentation on airport screening machines. Of particular note is the Electronic Detection System - Cabin Baggage ‘C1’ version (EDS CB - C1), which eliminates the need for random searches using additional explosive trace detectors or dogs. There is now a low-cost EDS CB-C1 available which is an option to be incorporated into smaller airports. Artificial Intelligence is also a future means of detection that is fast approaching and current tests have demonstrated how this method of detection is outperforming the human operators.

Finally, possible improvements to the baggage reconciliation process was discussed, including how airport technology varies across the EU. In particular how to better deal with unaccompanied bags that are beyond passengers' control.