Home » Aviation, Ports/Terminals » US Homeland Security lifts security notice on NAIA

The United States (US) Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has rescinded its public notice on security conditions at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after significant improvements in security operations were made at the Philippines’ main gateway.

DHS Acting Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan, in an order dated August 8 that took effect immediately, noted that both the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) “have demonstrated they are willing to work toward sustaining those improvements.”

The August 8 order rescinded the public notice on December 27, 2018, which stated that aviation security at NAIA, which serves as a last-point-of-departure airport for flights to the US, “does not maintain and carry out effective security consistent with the security standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).”

DHS said this determination was based on assessments by a team of security experts from the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA). DHS is responsible for assessing security at foreign airports with direct service to the US to ensure they meet international standards as set by ICAO, a United Nations specialized agency established to manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

The Philippine Department of Transportation (DOTr) noted that NAIA passed two consecutive inspections conducted by TSA in March and May 2019.

Efforts made to efficiently address TSA findings included the approval and publication of the updated NAIA Security Plan and National Civil Aviation Security Program; strict implementation of new security screening standard operating procedures; operationalization of the alarm system of access doors; use of new screening equipment such as dual-view x-ray machines and explosive trace devices; recruitment, training and certification of additional security screening officers; close coordination among all security units operating at the NAIA, such as the Office for Transportation Security (OTS), Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group, MIAA Police, Philippine Coast Guard, and contracted security guards; and the cooperation of airline companies, ground handlers, and their concessionaires.

DOTr said that together with its attached agencies MIAA, CAAP, and OTS, it commits to sustain an efficient and reliable security system at the NAIA, and work with relevant authorities and stakeholders to ensure compliance with global aviation security standards.

“While we are happy with this news, we must remember that the more important thing is that we sustain and consistently improve our efforts to ensure the safety and security of the passengers,” Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade said.

DHS and TSA, for their part, said they remain committed to working with the Philippine government to help ensure a strong security posture at NAIA and to enhance global aviation security.

To support the Philippines’ efforts to improve airport security, the US State Department has provided US$5 million to help fund airport security improvements at NAIA to include training and technology. The TSA has also provided aviation security advisors to assist with development and implementation of corrective measures at NAIA; analysis of security operations; recommendations on technology use and maintenance; streamlining of screening operations; and modernization of NAIA’s security infrastructure.

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