Sudden TSA security updates surprise industry

The news measures for both US and non-US based carriers must be implemented by 16 February.

air cargo Doug Brittin GACAG TIACA transport security administration TSA

Sudden TSA security updates surprise industry

The air cargo sector has been caught off-guard by a sudden announcement by the United States Transport Security Administration (TSA), who on 29 December issued a notice that updates to Security Programs for all US and non US-based freighters flying within, into and out of the US, must be implemented by 16 February. 

“The timing of the announcement over the holiday season, and the short implementation period are not ideal,” said a diplomatic TIACA secretary general, Doug Brittin. “While the updates incorporate some ideas which the industry has worked on with the TSA, they do not address the risk-based approach, which we have discussed and fully supported.” The apparent rapid implementation with lack of consultation throws into question the much-touted close cooperation between the TSA and both TIACA and the Global Air Cargo Advisory Group (GACAG). 

The programmes are said to incorporate structural changes and previous Emergency Amendments and Security Directives, but also require some changes in compliance procedures, according to TIACA. Brittin also noted the 32-day time-frame surprised the industry, as normal implementation is usually 60 days. Security experts Payload Asia spoke to said the new measures likely reflect intelligence indicating a rise in security threat, potentially relating to ISIS activity and also a more general threat as witnessed by the recent terror attacks in France.