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ACI EUROPE supports Belgium’s review of airport security measures


12 Sep 2016



Brussels, 12 September 2016: ACI EUROPE today met with Jan Jambon, Vice-Prime Minister of Belgium and Security & Interior Minister, to discuss security measures at Belgian airports nearly 6 months after the Brussels terror attacks of 22 March. Olivier Jankovec, Director General ACI EUROPE and David Ryder, Head of Aviation Security ACI EUROPE participated in the meeting, accompanied by Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport.

Since last April, ACI EUROPE has been expressing concerns as to the effectiveness and adequacy of the extra security measures applied for landside spaces (public spaces not restricted to passengers holding a valid boarding pass) at Belgian airports. In particular, ACI EUROPE considered that the screening of all passengers on entry to airport terminals was merely moving the target rather than securing it. This assessment was proven right on 28 June with the terrorist attack that took place at Istanbul-Atatürk airport. The existence of entry screening at Istanbul-Atatürk similar to the ones deployed at Belgian airports did not prevent this attack and there is no evidence that it would limit the number of casualties.

Over the past months, the Belgian Government has reconsidered the level and scope of the security checks at the entrance of airport terminals – with these checks no longer being systematic. Crucially, along with all other European States, Belgium has also looked at deploying alternative measures, which are both more efficient from a security standpoint and less intrusive. However, entry screening still remains in place at this time, with Belgium being the only EU country applying such measures.

The meeting with Vice-Prime Minister Jambon allowed for a fruitful exchange and an in-depth review of the current security situation at Belgian airports. Vice-Prime Minister Jambon confirmed the objective of replacing current entry checks with alternative & more effective security measures. Supporting this objective, ACI EUROPE provided the Vice-Prime Minister with advice on a layered approach to airport landside security at Belgian airports - relying on a mix of intelligence, data, communications and alternative detection capabilities.  

Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE commented “There is little doubt that the remaining screening measures at the entrance of airport terminals in Belgium should be removed – they are not adding anything in terms of security. I am reassured that the Belgian government is already moving in that direction and ACI EUROPE stands ready to assist where needed on the deployment of alternative & more efficient measures. This will allow for better use of existing resources and - last but not least - will actually go a long way in restoring a more positive image of Belgium as an efficient & safe destination.“

ACI EUROPE also announced on this occasion that it will hold a special Security & Crisis Management Summit in Brussels on 22-23 November, hosted by Brussels Airport. The Summit will look at a broad range of issues including the evolving nature of the current terrorist threat, landside security, technology & risk based approaches and the challenge of radicalised employees. Vice-Prime Minister Jambon confirmed his participation. 



Robert O’MEARA

Director, Media & Communications

ACI EUROPE (Airports Council International)

10, Rue Montoyer (box No 9), 1000 Brussels, Belgium

Tel: +32 2 552 09 82    Website:          

Fax: +32 2 502 56 37   Twitter: @ACI_EUROPE

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ACI EUROPE is the European region of Airports Council International (ACI), the only worldwide professional association of airport operators. ACI EUROPE represents close to 500 airports in 45 European countries. In 2014, our member airports handled over 90% of commercial air traffic in Europe, welcoming more than 1.8 billion passengers, 18.4 million tonnes of freight and 21.2 million aircraft movements. These airports contribute to the employment of 12.3 million people, generating 675 billion each year (4.1%) of GDP in Europe.