Don’t stop me now: How One-Stop Security can be beneficial during the COVID crisis

Nicholas Ratledge by Nicholas Ratledge | Nov 4, 2020

The advent of COVID-19 on the aviation industry has been disastrous and with the focus changing to restart and recovery, airports need to look into innovative ways to provide new measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.  In co-operation with relevant State authorities, frameworks based on One Stop Security practices is a method that can be adopted.

One Stop Security (OSS) is the process where passengers and cabin baggage and/or hold baggage are not rescreened at a connecting airport if they have been satisfactorily screened at the airport of origin. Although OSS would relieve passenger frustration and create a more streamlined journey, significant investment in infrastructure may be needed to support this initiative, so the benefits vary between airports, depending on the volume of transfer traffic – with larger hub airports tending to find the most benefit.

According to a report conducted for the European Commission, “The main direct financial benefit of One Stop Security centres around reducing transfer passenger security costs which typically translate into reduced transfer passenger security fees”

Implementing a better passenger journey

OSS implementation requires a recognition agreement between States, that security measures are equivalent.  OSS agreements are already in place between several countries, including the US-EU, Canada-EU, and Singapore-EU.  OSS has demonstrated benefits including:

  • cost savings from eliminating re-screening
  • improved connection times
  • an overall better experience for passengers
  • supporting improved cooperation between participating States
  • raising and aligning overall global aviation security standards

COVID-19 and One-Stop Security

The advent of COVID-19 has posed significant challenges to the aviation industry in many ways. One of the objectives of the ICAO Take-Off Guidance for Air Travel through the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis, is to reduce queues and touchpoints; OSS offers exactly this opportunity by reducing processes at transfer points. In addition, the framework applicable for OSS could form the basis for one-stop health screening arrangements for the near future.

One example applies to transfer baggage. If an OSS agreement allows for transfer bags to be screened at origin and does not require re-screening at transfer points this accounts for less time bags need to be handled by passengers.  This reduces touchpoints and therefore helps prevent the potential spread of the virus. 

Where States and airport operators are already using passenger OSS arrangements, these are being leveraged as much as possible to provide safe health practices.  For example, some airports in the Middle East are utilizing their arrangements to conduct tail-to-tail transfers using busses, to minimize interactions with other transfer passengers.

ACI has developed the One Stop Security Toolkit for airports wishing to explore different OSS options to address security.  This framework can also be used for exploring the possibilities of one-stop health measures as well. 

One-Stop Security Toolkit
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Nicholas Ratledge

Nicholas Ratledge

Senior Manager, Security, Safety, and Operations at Airports Council International (ACI) World
Nicholas Ratledge joined ACI World in March 2015. As Senior Manager, Security, Safety, and Operations at Airports Council International he is responsible for providing guidance and best practice with airport security standards and recommended best practices.
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