Understanding Aircraft Security
So you’ve planned your trip and received your intelligence brief from your risk mitigation partner. In the brief, you are presented with a very compelling argument for the need for aircraft security. But what exactly is aircraft security? What is the guard expected to do? Or more importantly, what does your risk mitigation partner expect from the contracted security provider?
Proper Aircraft Security
Responsibilities of an aircraft security guard should include (a) Prevent unauthorized access and entry to the aircraft; (b) Act as a deterrent against tampering, vandalism, sabotage, drug trafficking, and terrorism; and (c) Keep records of any incidents related to accidents or damage to the aircraft. It is always a good idea to ask your risk mitigation partner for a copy of the guard’s post orders. The post orders are the standard orders that all of their vetted security providers are expected to adhere to. If they cannot produce this document, it should be an immediate red flag.
Below are some common things that should be included in the document you receive:
• All guards will wear appropriate uniforms. The guards will have identification showing them to be authorized to access the apron and aircraft.
• Upon arrival of the aircraft, the first guard will introduce himself to the aircrew and show his identification.
• The guard should be armed unless the nation’s laws, local airport authority regulations, or service provider policy specifically prohibit it. If armed, the guard must be properly trained with the weapon and qualified in its use. The weapon will only be used in a manner consistent with the laws of the country in which the aircraft is being guarded.
• The guard must have a functioning communications method to his supervisor or the local police force. The primary choice is radio, and telephone should be available as a backup.
• The guard will deny access to the aircraft to all personnel except the aircrew and their authorized representatives. If non-authorized personnel approach the aircraft, the guard shall challenge them. If they continue to approach, the guard shall summon help by radio, then attempt to stop the intruders. At all times, the guard will use only the absolute minimum level of force required to protect the aircraft.
• The guard will be stationed at the aircraft perimeter. In the event of inclement weather, he may have a vehicle or some type of shelter, but it cannot hinder his vision or performance of his duties. If the guard is in a vehicle, then it should be parked approximately 50 feet away from the aircraft to avoid accidental damage to the aircraft. If two guards are used, then they will be positioned on each side of the aircraft. They will not stand together.
• Guard shift changes will take place at the aircraft. The aircraft will not be left unattended at any time. Arrangements must be made for a continued presence at the aircraft in the event that the guard should need to leave his post for a short period of time. Guards will not leave their posts unless relieved by another guard.
• Guards should ensure that aircraft doors and fuselage seals (if used) are intact throughout the aircraft’s stay.
• If it is necessary to tow the aircraft, the guard will accompany the aircraft to any location that the aircraft has been towed, without opening any aircraft doors.
• Upon departure, the guard shall give the aircrew a status report and then he can be released from duty.
A company’s post orders may deviate from the above, but this should provide a guideline of what to look for and what to expect from your security guards.