The official results released by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) after carrying out a comprehensive system audit on the State capabilities for the conduct of Aviation Security Oversight, show that the degree of compliance of Sri Lanka with International Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) relating to aviation security projects are well over the global average.
The ICAO is an organisation of the States responsible for setting of Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) relating to international civil aviation. It is also the UN body specialised in civil aviation. ICAO has 191 member States of the world to date.
ICAO conducts under its Universal Security Audit Programme (USAP), regular audits on Member States to ascertain the degree of conformance to the SARPs on aviation security. The most recent aviation security audit on Sri Lanka was conducted from May 24-30, 2012. The Audit results show a significant performance of Sri Lanka in aviation security oversight activities with 85 percent of compliance with security related SARPs as against the world (global) average of 67 percent for 145 States, which have been audited hitherto. The Audit results give an assurance to the travelling public that the ‘Lankan Skies are well Secure’. In a previous audit conducted by ICAO in 2010 in relation to the State Safety Oversight capabilities, Sri Lanka was assessed to have reached 88 percent compliance in relation to the local implementation of safety related SARPs as against the world average of 60 percent out of 177 States audited. The overall audit results relating to safety and security shows that Sri Lankan skies are Safe and Secure which lays the good foundation to achieve the Government’s objective of ‘concurring the blue skies’ enunciated in Mahinda Chintana Way Forward.
The ICAO Security Audit puts to test Sri Lanka’s capability on effective implementation of critical elements of the security oversight system. The critical elements (CE’s) referred to are Aviation Security Legislation; Aviation Security Programmes and Regulations; State Appropriate Authority for Aviation Security and its Responsibilities; Personnel Qualifications and Training; Provision of Technical Guidance, Tools and Security – Critical Information; Certification and Approval Obligations; Quality Control Obligations; and Resolution of Security Concerns.
Sri Lanka has already filed with ICAO, Corrective Action Plan for rectification of the deficient areas identified during the audits and those Corrective Action Plans have been accepted by the ICAO to be satisfactory.
The security policies are designed to protect the travelling public, airline and airport staff and facilities against unlawful interferences, which is identified to be a potential threat to civil aviation. Sri Lanka as a Member State of ICAO, security policies are developed in conformity with standards and recommended practices (SARPs) and those are implemented in close collaboration and coordination with all key stakeholders under a common programme called the National Civil Aviation Security Programme, National Civil Aviation Security Quality Control Programme (NCASQCP) and that of the National Civil Aviation Security Training Programme (NCASTP).
Sri Lanka gave accession to the Convention on International Civil Aviation on June 1, 1948 and all applicable international conventions relating to Aviation Security have been given effect to in Sri Lanka by enacting the legislative provisions through Parliament. The Conventions that have been ratified by Sri Lanka are as follows: Tokyo: on offences and certain other acts committed on board an aircraft – signed on September 14, 1963. Hague: suppression of unlawful seizure of aircraft signed on December 16, 1970. Montreal: suppression of unlawful acts against the safety of Civil Aviation signed September 23, 1971. Montreal (protocol) supplementary to the Convention on suppression of unlawful acts of violence at airports serving international civil aviation signed on February 24, 1988. Montreal: on the marking of Plastic Explosives for the purpose of detection signed on March 1, 1991.
Local Legislations that have ratified these international conventions are; Act No. 24 of July 26, 1982: offences against aircraft. Act No. 31 of November 12, 1996: suppression of unlawful acts of violence at Airport serving International Civil Aviation.
Act No. 34 of 2002: certified on December 18: National Civil Aviation Authority, provided for establishment of CAA (Conversion of the Department of Civil Aviation to an Authority) and the appointment of the DGCA and all matters connected therein. Act No. 14 of Novermber 3, 2010, made provisions for regulation control and matters related to Civil Aviation to give effect to the convention on international civil aviation and matters connected therein and incidental thereto.
The newly established Aviation Screener Certification Programme enriches all aviation security personnel with the personal licensing, which meets with ICAO standards.
These two accomplishments in civil aviation ‘Safety and Security’ in Sri Lanka will give added level of confidence to foreign airlines about the safety and security standards in Sri Lanka to carry on their business in Sri Lanka.