secunet comments on waiting times at airports


Staff from border control firm secunet Security Network have commented on a recent open letter to the EU Council of Ministers by the international air transport associations IATA, A4E, AIRE, ERA and ACI Europe.

In the letter, the organisations expressed their concerns about the "chaotic
implementation of Regulation EU 458/2017".

The authors of the document stated that the increased checks specified by the Regulation in relation to external borders of the Schengen area, have resulted in long waiting times for passengers.

Among other aspects, their recommendations to the EU member states for countermeasures include using Advanced Passenger Information
(API) data more efficiently, as well as considering increased use of
automated border control systems.

Frank Steffens, Principal at secunet Security Networks, commented on this
as follows:

"In the current situation, the border police forces are doing very good
work, and taking every possible step to ease the situation. Advanced
technology is helping them to do this: in particular, reading and checking
the chips contained in the passports represents a huge win in terms of
security, with moderate time needed for checking.

"As requested by the air transport associations, expanding the automated
border control systems as well as making greater use of Advance Passenger
Information (API) data would be recommended to achieve further improvement.

"There are also other ways to optimise checking processes, and to use the
available personnel to best effect: database queries in background systems
should be enhanced with respect to the response speed and reduction in the
number of irrelevant hits.

"Automated kiosk systems can be used to record
identification and biometric data in advance. In principle, rather than
independent, self-implemented solutions, proven products should be used that
are modular in structure and therefore easier to expand. Moreover, products
of this type are mostly state-of-the-art".

He also stated that the next major challenge is already in view: the EU-wide entry/exit system planned for 2020, as part of the Smart Borders programme.

"This will once again significantly increase requirements on border control processes. It’s important that member states engage with this topic at an early stage, as,
in my experience, intense preparation is always needed when new procedures
are introduced at the border; this preparation may take the form of pilot
projects, for example. We have seen this in many examples from the past,
such as the introduction of the electronic passport, the visa information
system, and automated border control."

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