Graduate research drives changes to airport security
A study by a Staffordshire University graduate is driving changes to prevent terrorist attacks in the UK.
The research, conducted by MBA graduate Ian Shaw, with Lecturer in Operational Performance Dr John Israilidis, shows that current security systems at UK airports face a growing challenge to protect against sophisticated terror attacks whilst passenger numbers continue to rise. The investigation provides evidence to suggest the need for a new regulatory approach to aviation security in UK Air Transport Operations.
Ian studied with the University alongside his day job with the armed forces before securing a role in Risk Improvement and Regulatory Transformation at the Aviation Security Directorate of the UK Civil Aviation Authority.
“I was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force and had decided that I wanted to pursue a civilian career. Studying with Staffordshire University was a stepping stone to a new career path and has really helped in my job,” explained Ian.
The study led on from Ian’s dissertation on airport security for his MBA course. Ian explained, “There was a need in the industry for a study like this. It hasn’t been done anywhere else - the research is ground-breaking.”
Using London Heathrow as a model, the study reviewed global terrorist attacks against aviation over the last 40 years. The evidence showed that the emergence of multi-modal attacks - where conventional weapons are employed in conjunction with cyber enabled attacks - has led to real, present and evolving security threats.
Major Shaw believes a new approach to airport security must be implemented to keep passengers safe: “Over the decades more and more people are travelling by air. This increases the potential impact that a terror attack could have.”
The University and the UK CAA provided funding for the research to be presented at the 15th European Academy of Management conference in Warsaw, Poland. The study is now being used by the Department for Transport, the UK CAA and other national aviation authorities in promoting and supporting the introduction of Security Management Systems across the industry.
“I’m working as part of a team rolling out new security measures to the aviation industry. This means we’re visiting airports and assessing their individual risk to understand the best approach when putting new systems in place.” explained Ian.
“This way we can create a framework which truly allows the industry to meet the current threat and have capacity to adapt to the emerging threat.”
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