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Aviation Security Service demonstrates commitment to Pacific

7 May 2015

Aviation Security Service demonstrates commitment to Pacific neighbours

New Zealand’s Aviation Security Service (‘Avsec’) has been funded by the government for a further 3 years from 1 July 2015 to continue the intensive capability-building work it has undertaken in the Pacific.

Over the last two and a half years, Avsec’s current Manager International Development, Athol Glover has been responsible for numerous initiatives and activities to further develop and enhance aviation security in the seven Pacific Island countries (PICs) that are ‘last points of departure’ to New Zealand.

This includes the Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Kiribati – each of which Athol visits twice a year. Recently, he has also provided support to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) initiatives in Southeast Asia.

“Much of my focus is on building positive and mutually trusting relationships with the airport CEOs, airline managers, heads of customs and police, and high commissioners of the PICs,” says Athol.

“Then, under mutual agreement and meeting certain criteria, Avsec can provide equipment, training, and quality assurance and compliance support in a sustainable and mutually beneficial way.”

For example, to date Avsec has provided modern x-ray machines, walk-through metal detectors, CCTV and access control systems, computer-based training software, patrol vehicles and uniforms, as well as the training and maintenance support to ensure that these investments are enduring. Avsec has also provided a number of aviation security personnel from PICs with internationally recognised training.

This enables compliance with local laws and international conventions related to security. As tourism is a key contributor for many Pacific Island economies, Avsec’s activities and contributions have a significant positive impact.

New Zealand is particularly well placed to support aviation security in PICs because many have adopted New Zealand Civil Aviation Rules.

“I’m proud to say that there has been significant progress in aviation capability building across all the Pacific island states that New Zealand has supported over the last few years,” says Athol.

“This has been in large part due to the co-operation of aviation security professionals, from chief executives to managers and staff, and from other NZ agencies. I look forward to continuing this valuable programme and seeing the many benefits it will undoubtedly bring in the near future.”

Future initiatives under the programme may include on-island training (rather than sending personnel offshore) and assistance and advice on succession planning.

ENDS

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