Examination of Witnesses (Questions 1260
WEDNESDAY 8 MAY 2002
1260. The Civil Contingencies Secretariat, do
you have any contact with them?
(Mr Hutcheson) Not directly. Through other parts of
DTLR since 11 September, and particularly through the Airport
Operators Association, we have had dialogues around contingency
plans and our measures to deal with a wide variety of terrorist
attacks. We had to reassure DTLR that these plans were in place
and co-ordinated with the relevant police service.
Chairman: I remember having conversations with
Mr Jack a few years ago on the directives and regulations. Can
you give us a summary of the kind of stuff that comes out of TRANSEC
that has an impact upon how you, British Airports AuthorityWe
should all declare an interest. We are all in receipt, or most
of us are, of car parking arrangements.
Jim Knight: I am not.
Chairman: For which we are grateful and which
we have all duly declared in the requisite list of Members' Interests.
Mr Cran: I have not.
Chairman: Is it just me? Nobody else?
Mr Roy: And me.
1261. And Frank. What kind of instructions would
you be getting?
(Mr Hutcheson) The National Aviation Security Programme
and also the directions and regulations which flow from TRANSEC
are very wide ranging. They start probably at the perimeter fence
and lay down the specification for the perimeter fence. They divide
the airport into three distinct areas: landside, which is open
to everyone, controlled areas which are open to authorised persons
who are not searched on entry and then the restricted area which
is open to a further restricted group of staff who are searched
on entry every time. Any possessions they may carry are also searched.
Then there is a strict regulation as to how the search as of staff
should be carried out, both for pedestrians and vehicles. There
is a similar regime for passengers which probably most people
are familiar with who travel through airports in relation to the
type of search, how it should be conducted, how many people should
be searched over and above those that alarm the equipment. The
equipment that is approved for use is also governed by TRANSEC.
There is a separate regime for training and recruitment. Anyone
who is employed in security has to go through a very vigorous
check, give five years' continuous proof of employment, subject
themselves to a counter-terrorist check and then they are given
basic training, remedial training if necessary and refresher training.
The syllabus is laid down by the National Aviation Security Programme.
Over and above that there is daily activity by the Inspectorate
of TRANSEC who check for our compliance with the regulations.
There is a requirement also to segregate inbound passengers from
outbound and to screen hold baggage going on board aircraft. The
responsibility is split between airline and airport. In relation
to hold baggage, the airport has a legal responsibility to provide
the infrastructure, i.e the baggage belts and x-ray machines,
to ensure that every piece of baggage being put in the hold of
an aircraft is screened by x-ray beforehand. There are issues
around passenger and bag match, both passenger bag match and the
physical screening are airline responsibilities. It really starts
at the perimeter fence and works its way up to the aircraft side
to the point that the aircraft takes off. I think it is a very
thorough and tough requirement to meet.
1262. How many security personnel do you have
in our in-house BAA operation?
(Mr Hutcheson) BAA choose to do what we call cabin
1263. How many personnel?
(Mr Hutcheson) Over 3,000.
1264. What is the minimum training for baggage
(Mr Hutcheson) For screeners the minimum training
is two weeks and then on top of that they are tested frequently.
They do 20 minutes in front of the x-ray machine, that is all
they are allowed to do, and then they must have 40 minutes off.
During that 20 minutes there will be a test which is electronically
generated by the computer.
1265. From the standpoint of the airlines, Mr
Jack, what kind of instructions would you be operating under?
Would you be responsible to British Airports Authority?
(Mr Jack) No. The way that the Government directions
are aligned makes a clear distinction in responsibility between
the airport and the airline. You understand that has to be for
reasons of liability. There is no confusion about the responsibility
each carries. You started off that question by asking about the
immediate follow up to 11 September. BAA is responsible for the
majority of the airports in the United Kingdom. My former airline
has of course stations all over the world and on 11 September
I was fortunate in that I was at Heathrow. I was told about an
incident in New York by one of my staff and I was watching the
TV when the second aircraft struck. We knew immediately this was
no accident and we immediately went into emergency session. I
was fortunate to have all my managers in place, I had one manager
who looked after UK and legislation in the UK, another who looked
after all the international stations, except those in North America
and the manager in North America was at his post. This happened
at 0905 Eastern Standard Time, 1405 UK time. We were able to pick
up the issues immediately because the additional measures which
we received for performance in the UK were mirrored by additional
requirements for stations outside the UK. In some places, particularly
the Middle East and Africa, we went to a higher scale of threat
level which required additional measures to be performed to meet
that level of threat. We managed this on a continuous basis, and
also adjusting as we received additional directions from the Department
of Transport affecting operations both from the UK and from other
states. I have mentioned already the suspension of services to
the US which we were able to restart very quickly in the circumstances.
For the rest of the world we maintained our services but we were
assisted in implementing the additional measures required. The
UK Government has a post holder in each of our overseas embassies
or high commissions called the Post Aviation Security Office,
PASO, who is normally the Defence Attache and if we have problems
in getting co-operation from the local authorities in any state
we go to the PASO and ask him to intervene. In extreme cases he
will go to the UK Government to ask for their intervention at
Government level. I have to say in the aftermath of 11 September
the process worked extremely well. I should add also that the
UK is, I think frankly, the foremost state in the range of security
measures which are applied. The history of this goes back to the
post Lockerbie action when the International Civil Aviation Organisation
introduced eight standards to be implemented by all signatory
states. The UK was foremost in implementing those, particularly
amongst them was the 100 per cent hold baggage screening that
Mr Hutcheson mentioned.
1266. When was that completed?
(Mr Hutcheson) It was finally completed in 1998.
1267. How long after Lockerbie was that?
(Mr Hutcheson) That was eight years. Immediately after
Lockerbie the technology did not exist. There was a significant
period of time spent in actually researching the technology that
would do the job, developing it to a point where it would work
and then installing it in UK airports, Heathrow being the last
because it was the most complicated to install. Most of it was
in place by 1995, it was just that Terminal 3 took longer because
of its complexity
1268. What percentage do you think of US airports
have hold baggage screening?
(Mr Hutcheson) Two per cent if that.
1269. Two, between nought and two per cent.
(Mr Jack) The UK was the first state to implement
100 per cent hold baggage screening. Mr Hutcheson mentioned the
technical issues because the equipment industry had not developed
the specifications and delivery of equipment which could perform
this measure to an adequate standard. To give you an idea of progress:
the European Civil Aviation Conference States, 38 states, introduced
the standard to be complied with by 31 December this year and
most of those states have still got some way to go before they
1270. It is rather ironic the Americans issuing
instructions to the UK where their own standards in some cases
fall significantly behind those of the UK.
(Mr Hutcheson) The deadline Iain has referred to has
just been extended to 2003 for European states and prior to 11
September the deadline for American airports was 2007. The Americans
have now set a deadline of 31 December this year which is an impossibility
to install what we would call inline screening. They will have
to use a variety of measures to screen bags on the concourse before
check-in. It is expected it will take them up to five years to
deliver inline screening in the same way that we do it in the
1271. Iain, I interrupted you in full flight.
(Mr Jack) I was just going to go on to mention the
intervention of the European Union in this field. On 14 September
last year the Transport Ministers of the 15 EU States met and
agreed that the EU should legislate aviation security measures.
That process is still under way. There will be a debate in the
European Parliament next week and a vote on the articles and measures
that are proposed to be introduced. There are some issues that
separate the elements of the EU, the Commission, the Council and
the Parliament. It may be that the conciliation process will have
to be introduced between the Council and the Parliament. One of
the big issues that concerns I think airlines and airports equally
is that of cost. There is a difference in the way that costs are
met across the world and particularly in Europe. The aviation
industry position, I am speaking for the aviation industry as
a whole because I am a member of something called the Global Aviation
Security Action Group which was convened by the International
Air Transport Association and they have taken up the position
which is ". . . that governments have direct responsibility
for aviation security and its funding. This responsibility includes
the protection of its citizens (in the air and on the ground)
as the security threat against airlines is a manifestation of
the threat against the State, the provision and cost of aviation
security should be borne by the State". As you will appreciate
I am reading and I will be happy to provide this for the record
if you so wish.
1272. To save time you could ask your successor
or perhaps you could drop us a note on what instructions you as
head of security for British Airways were or are under in terms
of security? It would be particularly interesting to explain to
the Committee whether you have the obligations or the BAA has
obligations about the security companies? Who would hire the many
security companies operating? How many security companies would
British Airways have? How many security companies are operating
in Heathrow? What standards are imposed on them? Are the standards
imposed directly on security companies or are there standards
imposed on the operators like British Airways or on the organisations
(Mr Jack) That is very interesting, Chairman, perhaps
I will answer it as BAA have an in-house security workforce and
British Airways employs contract security. The specifications
that we deliver to our contract security company are based, of
course, on the security directions which come from the Department
of Transport. One of the benefits that derives from the relationship
between the contractor and the supplier is the monitoring of standards.
My branch, when I was with British Airways, was responsible for
ensuring delivery. This is I think a very important aspect of
the management of security. I contrast that with a situation where
the security functions are performed by state employees because
the industry then has no way of ensuring delivery. I can quote
some cases where someone would arrive in the UK with an article
which should not have been in their hand baggage, picked up by
BAA in the flight connection centre and I would go back to the
station manager where this passenger has come from and say "How
did this happen?" and he will say "It was the police
who allowed it. They just told me to go forth and va-t'en in
other words". You can manage security much more positively
when you are dealing with a contractor as opposed to a state authority
or employee. Does that answer your question?
1273. Yes. If you think of anything else perhaps
you could ask your successor to drop us a note.
(Mr Hutcheson) I would just like to add to that. Although
BAA employ their own direct workforce to discharge their security
responsibilities, some other UK airports do not and choose to
use contractors. The regulations are on the airport and the airline,
they are not on the private security company. Although the same
standards apply, to be employed in aviation security the training
requirement is the same, the background check is the same. That
responsibility rests with the client and the contractor must conform
to it. There is no regulation directly on the private security
companies. The Department are in the process currently of drawing
up a programme to list security companies, airports and airlines
will only be allowed to employ security companies from those lists
but it is expected it will be later this year before that comes
Chairman: About time too.
1274. Mike Granatt of the Civil Contingencies
Secretariat said one of their functions is to carry out horizon
scanning in which they try "...to spot trends which may lead
departments to think about whether there are cross cutting issues
or issues which combine to create cross-cutting problems."
Have you been involved in any way, either of you, with the idea
of searching out cross-cutting problems between departments which
(Mr Hutcheson) No.
Syd Rapson: None at all?
1275. Perhaps not create them but resolve them.
(Mr Jack) I would respond to that by saying certainly
in British Airways cost is never an issue in security. If the
need is there then the costs are met.
Chairman: Cross-cutting not cost cutting.
1276. Across departments. A central figure will
have a magic wand for taking down the silos and saying "We
will all work together". He has a vision, he has to view
the horizon and see if anything is coming up. I do not know if
they have involved you in that or not?
(Mr Hutcheson) No, I have not been involved in that.
I think the UK model works very well, having been involved in
it for four years now. The Americans are currently pursuing the
single silo of putting everything in one department and it is
creating many problems in America. In aviation security the only
two departments where there could be a cross would be between
Home Office and DTLR but so far I have not come across any major
1277. Is it just DTLR and the Home Office?
(Mr Hutcheson) They are the two government departments
who really have an interest in aviation security, I would suggest.
1278. No involvement by the MoD?
(Mr Hutcheson) Only in the ultimate security threat.
Stansted is, and has been, used for receiving hijacked aircraft
into the UK.
Chairman: We will come on to the MoD later,
and we will also come on to cost-cutting, which does not exist,
which is very reassuring, later on.
1279. Beyond the Civil Contingencies Secretariat
and TRANSEC, are you generally confident that the co-ordination
of efforts across government departments is satisfactory?
(Mr Hutcheson) I do believe that. I have just come
from the National Aviation Security Committee which meets twice
a year and sits at the top of several working groups where all
the different agencies are represented. In drawing together the
emergency orders and the contingency plans for UK airports, I
think the full range of agencies are involved including local
authorities, and I think the links into government do not just
come from a single entity such as the airports but from local
authorities, from police, fire and ambulance. There are annual
exercises held. Even when there were chemical attacks in Amercia
and we revisited arrangements, I think we were reassured that
the contingency plans we had in place worked. Speaking purely
from a BAA point of view, in the four years I have been with the
companyand I am sure it is nothing to do with mewe
have had an air crash, we have had a major fire in the roof of
Terminal 1, and the contingency plans worked well, there was no
loss of life, there was no serious injury, and the business was
recovered within reasonable periods of time which allowed people
to resume their lives in a normal fashion. So I think there have
been sufficient real incidents and exercises to give me some confidence
in saying that our contingency planning, which does not necessarily
sit under my directorate, does work and the liaison with local
government and central government is adequate.