Examination of Witnesses (Questions 1248
WEDNESDAY 8 MAY 2002
1248. Mr Jack and Mr Hutcheson, welcome to our
inquiry. As you know, we have had a meeting with TRANSEC. We have
a session soon with the private security industry and we are looking
forward to your evidence. If there is anything you might want
to say in private then you should leave it until the end of the
public session and you can say it then. There will be a transcript
and we will send you the transcript and you can then delete what
you would like to delete from the record. Thank you very much
for coming along. We have a lot of questions and we are looking
forward to hearing your evidence. If I might kick off with a few
questions on the role of central Government. What has happened
in terms of Government guidance to the civil aviation sector,
particularly security, since 11 September?
(Mr Hutcheson) There were immediate measures
implemented on the day which were very informal, arranged over
the telephone, as an immediate response to the incident. Then
meetings were held the very next day to establish the best way
to take the new measures forward. On 26 September these measures
were formalised in a new direction on airports and airlines within
the UK. These measures have been added to in terms of guidance
and new measures as a result of particularly the Richard Reid
incident in Paris in December. There is a meeting on the 17th
of this month to review a draft direction which after further
consultation will supercede the direction of 26 September. Basically
all our activity has actually been encompassed within those documents.
1249. I will come to you, Mr Jack, in a moment.
Would that have gone to all airports? BAA do not cover all airports.
How would airports that are not owned by the British Airports
Authority have been communicated with? Would it have been the
same? Would they have had to have communicated with every single
airport and every single airline?
(Mr Hutcheson) They have a communication system with
every UK airport. Also they communicate with the Airport Operators
Association which is an umbrella organisation representing UK
airports. As well as my responsibility for BAA I do chair the
security committee for the UK airports within the AOA. We do come
at it from two different directions. There are strong communication
links within the airports.
1250. So every airport was covered very swiftly
(Mr Hutcheson) Yes.
1251. Mr Jack, with your hat as head of security
at British Airways?
(Mr Jack) Yes. Perhaps I should make my status clear
to Members of the Committee. I was the head of security at British
Airways for eight years until 26 April when my contract came to
an end and I moved on. With effect from 1 May I became the senior
security advisor to the International Air Transport Association.
They are based in Montreal and I have special responsibility for
Europe because there is a major aviation security initiative in
Europe under the guidance of the European Parliament. I do not
know if it would be helpful, Mr Hutcheson has referred to directions,
if you have the framework for how aviation security is legislated
in the United Kingdom. There is the Aviation Security Act 1982
and the Aviation and Maritime Security Act 1991. Under those Acts
directions are given to airports and airlines. You heard Mr Hutcheson
referring to directions that were given to introduce additional
security measures subsequent to 11 September. Those directions
are legally binding and they are served on the responsible person
in each organisation. In the case of British Airways that is the
Chief Executive Officer. When I was head of security I reported
to him for the implementation and the performance monitoring of
the measures. Mr Hutcheson has described the sequence of events
after 11 September. There was another important element that affected
airlines and that was the position of the United States Government.
As you know the United States closed their air space immediately
after the incidents on 11 September. They imposed certain conditions
on airlines to reinstate operations to the United States. This
was in effect extraterritorial regulation which some years before
the United States attempted to impose.
1252. A form of legislation I remember, proposed
(Mr Jack) Yes, a piece of legislation called the Hatch
Act. That was passed by Congress, sponsored by Senator Hatch of
Utah, however it was never implemented. It was made clear to the
United States that if they did implement it the impact would be
shared equally amongst all airlines operating out of the United
Kingdom and that impact would have been quite severe on the US
registered airlines operating out of the United Kingdom. In fact,
Mr Hutcheson and I both gave evidence at the hearing in Washington
on this issue. Back to the current events. The United States made
it clear that they wanted some additional measures to be performed
by inbound flights. British Airways went to the Department of
Transport Security Division to discuss the issue and a representative
from the US Federal Aviation Administration Security Department
was called in and these were reviewed. The FAA agreed that the
measures in effect in the United Kingdom were equal to those required
by the US and so we were able to resume operations once the airports
in the United States were cleared individually by the FAA. I think,
if I recall, our first flight went to Philadelphia on Friday 14
1253. American Airlines met the standards required
of the UK?
(Mr Jack) Of course the US airlines have to comply
with Host State regulations and that, of course, operating out
of the UK they have to comply with UK regulations as well as those
required by the US FAA.
1254. The British were seen as okay then but
did they prohibit any airlines whose security they regarded as
less than satisfactory?
(Mr Jack) It took some States longer to establish
compliance. The UK was the first, led by British Airways.
1255. Can I ask a strange question it seems
of a Select Committee. We all know what we were doing when we
heard, what was your immediate response in terms of security?
Did you think "Oh, my God, there could be a hit on a British
airline or an airline flying into the UK. Have we got everything
right?" Did you need these requests or demands from TRANSEC
or the United States to raise your standards or did you feel your
standards were adequate in the circumstances?
(Mr Hutcheson) No. In actual fact we implemented measures
without being asked to in terms of additional searching of passengers.
We worked very closely with the Metropolitan Police because one
of my concerns was that it did seem that not all the aircraft
were accounted for. There was a suggestion, even after the Washington
and New York incidents, that there may have been another aircraft
unaccounted for. We took some action to speak to the airlines
to make sure there was nothing inbound from America, particularly
for Heathrow or Gatwick, which could cause a similar incident.
Over and above that, we had to deal with the additional security
being put in. Then of course there was a significant operation
to deal with people who were denied flying to their destinations
because many aircraft were turned back in flight, many aircraft
were diverted to London in flight to the USA from other countries.
One of the problems at both Heathrow and Gatwick was finding enough
space to park aeroplanes. There was almost an emergency response,
to deal with the people, the aircraft and putting additional measures
in place until such time as we established lines of communication
with TRANSEC. No, we did not have to be asked, we realised the
severity of the incident and it required an immediate response
1256. Is TRANSEC your only or your main point
of contact with central Government or are there other Departments
with which you have to interact: Cabinet Office, Home Office,
(Mr Hutcheson) The airport industry as a whole deals
with other parts of DTLR but from a security point of view we
deal with TRANSEC. We have dialogue also with the Security Services
and then we have a dialogue through the police service, depending
on which airport, because, with the exception of Southampton,
all BAA's airports are designated and have a resident police force
which brings us into contact with six different police forces
throughout the UK. The contact is merely at police force level
and rarely goes to the Home Office.
1257. Does Scotland have any implications for
you? How many airports do you have in Scotland?
(Mr Hutcheson) Three: Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
1258. The administration there, does that have
(Mr Hutcheson) No because the National Aviation Security
Programme applies right across the UK and there are no changes
1259. Can I just ask, Chairman, does Inverness
(Mr Hutcheson) No, it is not one of BAA's airports.
It does count but it is not one of our airports.