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Strengthening Airline Security

Strengthening Airline Security

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U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano met with members of the International Air Transport Association, or IATA, in Geneva, January 22nd, as part of ongoing U.S. government efforts to work with the airline industry to meet international and U.S. security standards. The IATA represents approximately 230 airlines and more than 90 percent of the world's air traffic.

"Effective aviation security relies on close coordination between airlines, government and law enforcement to identify, deter and disrupt threats," said Secretary Napolitano.

During the meeting in Geneva, which included IATA Chief Executive Officer and Director General Giovanni Bisignani and leaders from approximately 20 airlines from across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North America – Secretary Napolitano emphasized the airline industry's important role in implementing stronger and more effective international security measures to protect the traveling public.

Secretary Napolitano outlined 4 broad areas for international public-private collaboration that will help bolster efforts to protect the aviation system while facilitating legitimate travel: improving information collection and analysis; increasing information sharing and collaboration in passenger vetting; enhancing international security standards; and deploying new screening technology.

Secretary Napolitano also met with officials from the International Civil Aviation Organization in Geneva to discuss these issues. Her trip began in Toledo, Spain, where she met with her European counterparts to discuss ways to strengthen international aviation security standards.

Earlier in January, Secretary Napolitano dispatched Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute, Assistant Secretary for Policy David Heyman and other senior Department of Homeland Security officials to meet with government leaders and major international airport executives in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and South America to review airport security procedures and work on ways to collectively bolster ways and means of defeating terrorists who target international air travel.

Following the attempted terrorist attack in the United States on December 25, 2009, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration issued a new directive, developed in consultation with law enforcement officials and domestic and international partners, which mandates that every individual flying into the U.S. from anywhere in the world who holds a passport issued by or is traveling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest undergo enhanced screening.

"I am committed to working closely with the airline industry and my international counterparts," said Secretary Napolitano, "to strengthen global aviation security standards for passengers traveling to the United States and around the world."