Security in Travel: How to Realistically Open Borders
By Timothy O'Neil-Dunne
Sunday, 30th May 2021

THERE are so many gaffes in aviation caused by unpreparedness and missteps that it is almost impossible to catalogue.

The Covid-19 virus should have been treated at the outset as a security issue. The recovery is disjointed as the lack of common approaches to the pandemic especially in Asia Pacific are leading to mass confusion. Unfortunately this has severely curtailed international travel while not necessarily stopping the spread of the disease.

Since 9/11 the airline industry has made flying safe using a combination of physical security and cyber security. Unfortunately the industry has not treated the pandemic the same way. As it unfolded, seven critical mistakes were made:

Mistake #1:

Assuming the pandemic is a temporary aberration, so measures put into place must be temporary. Willie Walsh as new IATA director general has made this point forcefully. He is plain wrong. The COVID-19 virus will still be circulating for many years. We must, therefore, take a permanent layered approach in mitigation. We must recognize that COVID-19 is not unique.

Mistake #2:

Lack of transparency of the true extent of Covid infections onboard airliners. Canada is a rarity in that it publishes weekly stats. China and Hong Kong sanction airlines for bringing in Covid-positive passengers.

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