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Security Experts Offer Three Considerations for International Ground Transportation
Feb. 17, 2017
Ensuring the safety of passengers and crew doesn’t end when an aircraft reaches its destination. All parties must then be delivered securely to their final stop – a task that can be more challenging when traveling outside of the United States.
Matt Burdette, chief of intelligence with UnitedHealthcare Global Risk, identified the main factors to consider when selecting ground transportation options:
Consideration 1: Location Matters
Operators should assess if there are threat-pattern trends at their destination. Security that’s appropriate in certain international destinations may vary drastically from the requirements in more volatile locations.
“A trip in London is one thing, as opposed to Mexico City, in determining what transportation you choose,” said Burdette.
In locations with prominent levels of risk, Burdette recommended scaling the security capability to deal with potential threats. “You may consider using a driver with security operations training including escape and evasion, offensive and defensive driving and knowing how to handle a vehicle under extreme situations,” he said.
Consideration 2: Arrange Transportation with a Trusted Provider
Burdette said there is one central question operators need to ask when procuring transportation: is it a known, trusted provider?
“Is it a provider whom you’ve retained access through a trustworthy source or vetted yourself?” he said. “You’re looking for somebody who provides that level of service that you’re after, which more than anything else is safety and security, and secondly is timeliness and reliability.”
Sarah Wolf, NBAA’s senior manager for security and facilitation, recommended procuring the same level of security for both crew and passengers, as crew members are the most essential resource in situations where expedited departure is required.
“They’re your emergency ‘get out of the country’ card, and if the crew is stuck or has otherwise been incapacitated, now you have a delay bringing in additional crew or an unknown contract crew, which can lead to additional security breaches,” she said.
Consideration 3: Thoroughly Vet Transportation Options
Wolf stressed the importance of reaching out to the local FBO or transportation provider, as well as industry peers, and asking questions such as: how well is the transportation provider known? What is their reputation? Do they offer the levels of driver experience that you’re looking for?
Burdette added that operators should seek providers who will reliably communicate ahead of time what type of car will be arriving, including its color, license plate number and the driver’s name, as well as the driver’s picture and cell phone number so when passengers leave the terminal, “there is no ambiguity or uncertainty with what car they’re getting into.”
“In some places, that can absolutely be a threat, getting into the wrong car – sometimes by accident, and sometimes by design,” he said.
The factors that go into choosing the most appropriate ground transportation option are the subject of a March 13 panel discussion, “Ground Transportation Security for Passengers and Crew,” to be held at NBAA’s 2017 International Operators Conference (IOC), taking place in Atlanta, GA, from March 13-16.