Airport security gets top marks

Having had its first inspection since Hurricane Ivan in 2004, the Owen Roberts International Airport received the highest assessment in airport security procedures of all British Overseas Territories by the United Kingdom Department for Transport.

The Cayman Islands Airports Authority, which operates ORIA as well as all international airlines operating in Grand Cayman, were assessed in June, said a GIS press release.

It was measured against the following international and local aviation security standards: the screening of passengers; baggage and cargo; access control procedures; security officer training; and security record-keeping.

Cayman also received the highest regional score for the monthly performance of X-ray operators.

‘Our commitment to maintaining excellent security standards has long been a priority,’ said the authority’s Chief Executive Officer David Frederick.

ORIA operates under the Cayman Islands National Aviation Security Programme and UK jurisdiction. However, one of its challenges is that it also must implement US Transportation Security Agency standards for airlines operating between Cayman and US destinations.

One example of this is the recently discontinued TSA requirement to search baggage before check-in, which was implemented after the terrorist events of 11 September 2001.

Subsequent to the UK inspection from 19-22 June, a TSA team visited Cayman to assess the compliance of US airline operations. They reported complete satisfaction with their inspection results, Mr. Frederick said.

Senior Manager Airport Operations Kerith McCoy mentioned that procedures not required and implemented in other jurisdictions are done in Cayman, such as the random baggage inspection in the presence of the passenger.

This is contrary to the US procedure, in which inspectors open and search baggage without the passengers present.

‘I commend the dedicated security staff and the airlines in their compliance with security requirements for this admirable achievement,’ Mr. Frederick said in the release.