Mode Aviation
Reference No. AR201700057
Date reported 17 June 2017
Concern title Security at [Location] as an aircraft arrived
Concern summary

The concern related to the airside door being unattended as a domestic flight arrived at the apron.

Industry / Operation affected Aviation: Air transport
Concern subject type Aviation: Cabin safety

Reporter's concern

The reporter expressed a safety concern related to the security at [Location] Airport.

The reporter advised that on the arrival of a [operator] flight the airside door was left open allowing anyone in the arrivals terminal access to the tarmac. The reporter advised that maintenance was being conducted on the main access for passenger operations and this was sectioned off. There did not seem to be procedures in place to ensure that security was maintained during this time.

The reporter’s suggestions:

  • Security and safety awareness by ground staff. (Some practice in unwarranted tarmac intrusion / perhaps as a joint exercise with local police and emergency services?)
  • Assessment of adequate number of ground staff to supervise arrival & departure passengers.
  • Flood lighting of the tarmac area between the aircraft and the arrivals /departure lounges, at night and in a manner that will activate once the aircraft has shut down its engines and prior to the aircraft door being unlocked. This will enable the air crew and the ground staff to better supervise of the tarmac area without interfering with the pilot’s night vision.

Operator's response (Operator 1)

This is to confirm that an Airport Safety Officer is on duty at the arrivals gate for all flights except for evening [operator] terminating services where there are no embarking passengers.

Disembarking passengers from terminating flights are monitored by [operator] ground staff.

In addition, the arrivals gates have auto opening doors which are activated from airside only and physical barriers and appropriate signage is in place inside the terminal to deter any unauthorised exit through those doors.

Flood lighting is also in place to provide appropriate lighting between the aircraft parking bays and the arrivals gates.

Notwithstanding all of the above, we are currently undertaking terminal upgrade works and as noted by the reporter the temporary arrivals gate is not auto opening and remains open until the last arriving passenger is inside the terminal building after which the door is closed by either a safety officer or airline ground handling staff member.

A purpose built barrier has also been installed inside the temporary arrivals gate along with appropriate signage while this interim arrival door is being used.

I am satisfied that our normal arrival procedures are adequate, however additional monitoring of our temporary procedures will be implemented immediately to ensure that our usual high standard of airside passenger security is maintained throughout the terminal upgrade works.

Regulator's response (Regulator 1)

CASA has reviewed the REPCON and provides the following comments. The operator of a certified aerodrome must:

  • ensure that any aerodrome works are carried out in a way that does not create a hazard to aircraft;
  • provide and maintain lighting of runways, taxiways and aprons intended for use at night;


  • have an Aerodrome Manual that includes information on ‘Unauthorised entry to aerodrome’ and the arrangements for controlling airside access.

CASA standards for access control are to prevent people from inadvertently entering a movement area, that is, for aviation safety purposes only. CASA standards do not address aviation security, that is, protection from acts of unlawful interference. The Office of Transport Security (OTS) is Australia's transport security regulator for aviation transport.

Under the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 (ATSA) and Aviation Transport Security Regulations 2005 (ATSR) all security controlled airports must implement security measures based on their local security risk profile and operating environment. These measures and other important information required to meet aviation security obligations must be set out in the airport operator's transport security program (TSP). OTS requires [Location] Airport to prepare and manage a TSP, which requires the airport to conduct security audits.

The last CASA surveillance of [Location] Airport was conducted in December 2015. There were no findings issued in relation to the applicable regulatory requirements. The terminal redevelopment had not started at the time of that surveillance activity.

From CASA’s perspective, [Location] Airport management’s response to the reported security concerns does not indicate any outstanding safety concerns. Therefore, no further action is required by CASA. Further surveillance of [Location] Airport will likely occur in 2018.

For your information the report has been forwarded to the Office of Transport Security with a request that they respond to the concern by the 1 September. As we do not have an MOU with OTS, there is no requirement for them to respond. However, if they do respond, I will forward a copy of the response.

Last update 18 July 2018