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Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation, keynote presentations and workshops for corporate organisations on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. He operated at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book. Journalist and Broadcaster. After-dinner speaker and presenter.

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Monday, 16 November 2015

G20: UK to beef up Aviation security and double safety budget. Still not nearly enough says Julian Bray Aviation Expert




UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said the attacks that struck Paris on Friday night could have happened in "Belgium, it could have happened in Denmark, it could have happened Sweden, it could have happened [in the UK]".

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he was asked whether the attacks, in which 129 people were killed, could have have "been us, it still might be us", and accepted that it could. 
Cameron added: "The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have proved they are trying to kill as many people as possible."
Source: CityAM



BELEK, Turkey (Reuters) - Britain is set to boost its intelligence agency staff by 15 percent and double spending on aviation security to counter the increasing threat from Islamist militants, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday.

Julian Bray Aviation Security expert writes: The news that the UK Government is to invest in Aviation Security is years overdue and more than welcome. For the UK to spend just £9million a year on worldwide aviation security, is frankly a joke. To double the spend to £18million  [over a five year period....] is a start, but in reality as serious security threats are constantly changing; a minimum spend of £30million a year is more realistic. I'm certain that The Independent Travel editor Simon Calder, and myself can quickly offer a fully costed viable programme!  Between us we must have visited most of the at-risk ports, airports and fly-blown murram compacted earth landing strips that pass as African hubs.

If Mr Cameron calls for the clip of last weeks BBC Scotland Call Kay Adams, he will hear a very spirited on air argument with Julian Bray and a local travel agent over the merits of airport safety and aviation security.   The news that a number of overseas airports are to be examined is welcome, but the evidence is already available, much to the chagrin of the FCO, who seem to bury any data offered.  There must be a stack of files at the FCO, ready to be dusted down... 

For a number of years security analysts and respected travel journalists have been repeatedly banging on ministerial doors to get this to happen. We can only hope this is not simple window dressing for the benefit of G20 delegates, and that Mr Cameron will call in travel experts to advise.

At the moment the FCO totally calls the shots when it comes to defining public travel advice. So Brits seeking cheap third world guaranteed 'sun' holidays still willingly put themselves and their families in harms way! 

For example the FCO claimed the town of Sharm El Sheikh is safe, but the approach the airport and the airport itself is unsafe, is indicative of the current nonsense on the FCO website. These weasel words effectively stop insurance firms paying out.

Also alarm bells should ring as the proposed airport review does not cover air freight and air cargo sheds. Where security is somewhat casual.  

Meanwhile President Putin had blocked Russian citizens from the whole of Egypt not just Sharm. The Russians also removed their citizens within days, none of their evacuation flights were cancelled and the luggage flew out as well on Egyptian military aircraft!  

But like many previous exercises, the security is only as good as the local facilities and the quality of the local people manning the security gates and screening machines.

The only real sanction the UK Government can immediately impose is wake up the foreign office mandarins and ensure that its published advice to travellers really does reflect the dangers UK citizens may encounter at popular holiday destinations.

It needs to be written in strident brutally honest language, and not in the current diplomatic speak that allows for acres of wriggle room by the target country.

Clearly if the FCO notice advises UK citizens not to travel to a country, then travel and other insurance payouts are automatically triggered.  I guarantee that within weeks, holiday companies will then drop that resort, as insurance companies rerate the insured risk.  In  reality, the only way to reduce the current security risk is to agree a form of settlement with Syria, hopefully the G20 will kickstart the process.  

_______________

The UK government said it had decided to increase resources in the wake of the growing number of plots against Britain and recent militant attacks, including those in Paris and Tunisia. 
   
"I am determined to prioritize the resources we need to combat the terrorist threat because protecting the British people is my number one duty," Cameron said in a statement.

"This is a generational struggle that demands we provide more manpower to combat those who would destroy us and our values."

The government said that as part of a broader five-year defence and security review, due to be published on Nov. 23, it would fund an extra 1,900 officers at its MI5 and MI6 spy agencies and GCHQ intelligence agency.

It also plans a "step change" in aviation security following the crash of a Russian airliner in Egypt last month, which Britain has said it believes was brought down by a bomb.

Cameron is due to discuss aviation security with other world leaders at the G20 summit in Turkey on Monday, including during a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The British leader has also ordered a rapid review of security at several airports around the world, in particular in the Middle East and North Africa and airports through which high numbers of British citizens travel.

The assessments, due to be conducted over the next two months, will focus on measures such as passenger screening, physical security at the airport, hold baggage and freight screening.

Additional security measures put in place at potentially vulnerable airports over the past year will also be reviewed, and the National Security Council will on Tuesday discuss British aviation security policy, the government said.

Cameron said he planned to more than double government spending on aviation security, currently around 9 million pounds ($13.70 million) a year, over the next 5 years.

This new funding will provide extra aviation security experts to regularly assess security at airports around the world as well as advice, training and equipment for other countries to help them increase security at airports.

It will also fund research into screening technology and to detect new threats, the government said.
($1 = 0.6567 pounds)

Sources: Reuters, BBC, CNS,



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