Aviation has a problem – and that is not Corona

Roman Warschauer, Freelance Business Journalist, Hessischer Rundfunk

  • Coronavirus is currently plunging airlines and airports into a crisis
  • But there is a more pressing issue: security controls
  • Many rules are outdated and are at the expense of passengers

The corona virus has a growing grip on the aviation industry. More and more airlines and airports are switching to crisis mode. It is clear that this is currently the determining topic. However, those involved should not lose sight of at least one other latent current problem and continue to work on solutions: security checks. Because just as there was a time after SARS, there will also be a time after Corona. Then the insecurity among holidaymakers will disappear and business people will postpone appointments and thus business trips. Then the traffic figures are likely to rise sharply again, which in turn should lead to longer waiting times at the security controls.

It doesn’t work without more staff

Since 2018 at the latest, the year marked by flight cancellations, delays and long waiting times, many participants in the industry have tried to improve the situation. More security control lanes, flight plans with more time buffers, better staff planning. But basically many problems are still not solved. For example at security controls:
Simply setting up more control lanes is not a solution in the long run because there is only limited space in the terminals and significantly more staff is required. Personnel that are already difficult to find.
The security controls have to be set up much more up-to-date so that they can keep pace with the expected growth in traffic in the coming years.
On the one hand, this includes better technology: it is coming, but still very slowly. Another reason for this is that the state is responsible for procurement, which is much more time-consuming than when companies do this. For this reason, some airports request that the actual security checks be organized again. In principle, this demand should have been received by politicians. Among other things, reports from the Federal Ministry of the Interior were commissioned. However, results are still a long time coming.

The requirements for liquids are outdated

In addition, some rules would have to be adapted to the current state of the art. The strict requirements for liquids in hand luggage, for example, have been considered outdated by experts for years. Apart from initial tests at Munich Airport, nothing has happened.
Another annoyance: previously, suitcases had to be unloaded again when the owner of the luggage was not on board. It takes a lot of time, very quickly. The checked baggage is now completely screened before loading. It should therefore be possible to transport it safely. Admittedly, there are many construction sites to work on. And not all play at the state or federal level. Especially when it comes to regulations, European or even international agreements are quickly necessary.
In times of Corona this is surely an even greater challenge. Those responsible in aviation should still use the time as well as possible, because the next rush of passengers is bound to come.