The discovery of the package of explosives which was being transported aboard a UPS-freighter has kindled a discussion with regard to the current security standards in the air cargo industry. The director of Lufthansa Cargo’s Security, Harald Zielinski, talks about Lufthansa Cargo’s security standards and the new regulations, which are coming to the air freight industry.
Mr Zielinski, how important is security at Lufthansa Cargo?
Security in the air freight traffic has the uppermost priority for Lufthansa Cargo. Since 2001, we have increased tenfold our expenditures for security. With this, the safety measures of Lufthansa Cargo exceed the legal requirements. Lufthansa Cargo regularly brings together international security experts in periodical security conferences in Germany and the USA, in order to further develop the security procedures in the industry. In addition, security technology-sector companies get expert know-how with Lufthansa Cargo. Besides, as the only foreign airline, we were invited in August of this year as experts at a hearing of the US congress.
Air cargo security to a large extent is based on the system of safe supply chains. What does this mean?
In Europe, the European Union as the legislator has implemented the concept of the secure transport chain. With this, cargo is moved in a secure and controlled environment from the producer, over the forwarding agent and ends up at the airline. All companies which are a part of this secured transport chain must be regularly audited and certified by the authorities. This concept guarantees that all of the many shipments which the forwarder has consolidated and, for example, stacked on pallets, have been security-checked.
This means that cargo is security-checked on all the stations along the route even before it is delivered to Lufthansa Cargo. Airfreight is a business dealing with known consignors. 99% of Lufthansa Cargo’s freight consignments are delivered by internationally active forwarding agencies: The average weight of a shipment is approximately one ton.
How do we deal with airfreight security?
Cargo of companies which are not a part of the secured transport chain will be controlled without exception and in detail by Lufthansa Cargo. By Lufthansa Cargo, this goes also for countries in which such a control is not compulsory by law. The basic principal is that Lufthansa Cargo will not load any unsafe cargo. I will gladly repeat that this statement is the general maxim of our business.
In Frankfurt more than 600 video cameras monitor, for example, the security hub. Round-the-clock the pictures are evaluated at the security headquarters. Worldwide, Lufthansa Cargo has more than 2500 cameras operating. At the access controls we work with chip cards or biometric data or so-called entry controls for the ingress. We regulate the admission rights for every single person individually and revocable at a moment’s notice.
How does Lufthansa Cargo want to develop in the future in the area of security?
Lufthansa Cargo will also actively take part in the future in the advancement of the security standards. Besides, it is important to find a solution which is not limited to Germany. Only in this way can the security be increased in the international air traffic. Lufthansa Cargo always has demanded during the previous years a harmonization of the security standards and it will continue doing so. We in the security department can expect even more responsibility to come our way. We accept this challenge together with all the other affected and involved colleagues in all departments. We want to and will remain as well, furthermore, the world market leader also in the area of security.