Aviation security is aimed at ensuring control, access, protection of objects, facilities and information networks from acts of unlawful interference, and other measures necessary for the safe operation of the state system. The utilization of the country’s airspace is a large and complex process that largely depends on more minor security systems. Aviation safety, as well as flight safety, determines the level of security of air transportation, which is vital for the functioning of the whole transport system of the state. The system of ensuring the protection of civil aviation against the acts of unlawful interference (aviation security of civil aviation) is a collection of legal and organizational measures aimed at the prevention and suppression of illegal actions towards civil aviation. Physical security is a part of the integrated aviation security system, which cannot function without other parts. Nevertheless, the aviation security cannot be limited to physical security, where a safe flight and the safe functioning of the system presupposes simultaneous utilization of every minor security system article. Thus, this paper deals with the concept of physical security as part of aviation security. Therefore, regarding physical security as an integral part of the aviation system and its security, the paper analyzes it in conjunction with other parts of the main security system.

Aviation Security as an Integrated Security System

Aviation security is the act of protection against unlawful interference into aviation spheres. Aviation Safety is ensured by Aviation Security services provided by airports or airdromes, militarized security units of airdromes or airports, aviation security operators (aviation companies), as well as specially authorized units vested with these rights by federal laws. Aviation Security Service of airfields or airports and aviation security operators (aviation companies) are the services of “special statutory tasks”. Illegal interference into the aviation field includes minimum illegal action (inaction), threats to safe activities in the field of aviation, which cause accidents and material damage, seizure or hijacking of the aircraft or creation of a threat of any before-mentioned outcome.

Ensuring aviation safety

As a rule, people performing reception, expedition or service of the aircraft provide the measures that ensure aviation safety. One can point out five main factors that ensure the aviation safety. First, the safety can be ensured by preventing the access of unauthorized individuals and vehicles to a controlled area of the airport or aerodrome. Second, parked aircrafts should be protected in order to detect the possible penetration of the aircraft by unauthorized persons. Third, respective staff has to provide identification of possible illegal trafficking of weapons, ammunition, explosives, radioactive, poisonous, flammable materials and other dangerous items and substances that introduce special precautions while dealing with the materials transportation. Fourth, every passenger has to go through pre-flight inspection before boarding the plane. The last, but not the least important, airport staff should guarantee implementation of resistance measures against acts of unlawful interference into the aviation activities and other measures, including the police.

Aviation security service provider has the right to arrest and pass to the law enforcement structures those individuals who have violated aviation safety requirements. Moreover, they can also arrest the baggage, cargo and mail containing illegal items and substances. In cases when the life and health of passengers or aircraft crew is in danger, they should take measures according to the country’s law. Employees of aviation security service are allowed to wear and use weapons in situations prescribed by federal laws. Aviation security requirements and their implementation procedures are established by federal aviation regulations.

To ensure the safety of passengers and crew of the aircraft, it is obligatory to pre-inspect the aircraft, its stores, crew members, passengers, baggage, including cabin luggage, and even freight and mail. Pre-flight inspection of passengers is implemented at the airport or on the board of the aircraft by authorized aviation security workers. Sometimes law enforcement officers participate in pre-flight inspection on board of transport. The implementation of pre-flight inspection excludes, or, at least, minimizes the risks of unlawful interference and excludes the possibility of the inspection during the operational search, criminal activity or other actions performed by authorized persons in the manner prescribed by law.

During international flights, the pre-flight inspection is performed after border, customs, quarantine, immigration, veterinary, phytosanitary and other controls. If the passenger of the aircraft refuses pre-flight inspection, the passenger’s air transport agreement is considered terminated. The rules of pre-flight inspection are established by federal aviation regulations.

The main task of the aviation security system is to ensure the safety of life and health of passengers, crew members of the aircraft and airline’s ground staff. The funds intended for aircraft and airport protection are applied in accordance with state rules, regulations and procedures. Civil aviation safety is based on several fundamental principles. First, it is based on the creation of aviation security measures that protect domestic civil aviation and adequately respond to the deterioration of aviation security in any other country. Second, aviation safety is grounded on the compliance of the aviation security functioning to regulatory and legal frameworks. All problems should be solved depending on the level of their difficulty and complexity and with the consideration of state laws and regulations. Then, it depends on the creation and implementation of modern aviation security through the utilization of foreign analogs. Furthermore, aviation safety can not be guaranteed if one does not introduce the safety practices of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) into the domestic aviation system. Additionally, in the safety grounds lye the state certification of aviation safety regulations in the domestic civil aviation. At the same time, aviation safety is found on the examination of constructed and reconstructed projects of international terminals at the country’s airports in accordance with the requirements of ICAO. Finally, the last basic principle of aviation safety is the ensured integration of national aviation safety system into the global aviation security.

Aviation security checkpoints are located in front of the waiting rooms of the airport. Some checkpoints are placed in front of the terminals. Control points are necessary for the prevention of the takeover and avoidance of criminal acts on board. Aviation Security Service organizes practical measures to protect civil aviation against intrusion attempts. At control points of aviation safety, there are such elements as metal detectors that monitor passengers for the prohibited metal objects, and introscopes that check carry-on luggage or cargo.

The main duties of security service include implementation of inspection in due course as well as procedures aimed at checking passengers and their hand luggage, baggage, mail, cargo and aircraft’s sections. Cooperation with law enforcement agencies, preparation and implementation of measures against acts of unlawful intrusion is also included into the list of security service duties. Moreover, the staff of the security service is ensuring protection of the airport, planes, and other important objects. Organization and control over access of people and vehicles into the zone controlled by the airport and other facilities of civil aviation, and monitoring the compliance with existing rules and regulations in aviation safety is also implemented by the security service.

Aviation Security Service has the right to inspect passengers and their carry-on baggage, luggage, cargo, mail, board supplies in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, control the access of persons and vehicles to the areas controlled by the airport and other objects of civil aviation. Moreover, it is in power to carry out administrative detention and to bring to account persons who have committed the offense in accordance with applicable laws, and to seize the weapons, ammunition, explosives and other dangerous items that could be used for illegal acts of unauthorized intrusion on board or in a controlled area. Then, aviation security service issue written orders signed by the heads of departments of the airport, as well as outside organizations, to eliminate the violations of established rules and regulations of aviation safety, and. Finally, it has the right to prepare necessary materials for the application of sanctions for violation, failure or improper performance of aviation security requirements by departments, services, officials.

In carrying out their duties, members of the Aviation Security can wear and apply firearms and special equipment in the cases and manner required by the law, and freely pass on an aircraft, facilities and premises of the airport.

The Concept of Flight Safety

When aviation security system and its components are subject to scrupulous analysis, it is important to mention flight safety. It is defined as a comprehensive characteristic of air transport and aviation activity. Additionally, it determines the ability to perform flights without danger to the life and health of passengers and crew. Analogically, the term is defined in the nonfiction. In all its definitions, safety is understood as a property or quality characteristic, but not as a process, which is undoubtedly more accurate. However, the given definition of safety cannot be considered satisfactory by the criteria of accuracy, clarity, and specificity. Indeed, in this clarification, flight safety will also cover the notion of aviation and ecological safety, since the definition does not contain any distinguishing criteria. This “nondefinition of a definition” is caused by the objective complexity to clearly and specifically define the concept of flight safety. The most accurate approach is the distinguishing way of defining the concept. In other words, under the term “flight safety”, one should understand the components of aviation safety, which are not covered by the physical and ecological security of civil aviation.


The Concept of Ecological Safety of Civil Aviation

 With regard to ecological safety, which is defined as a set of measures and human as well as material resources allocated, employed, and designed to protect the environment from the adverse impacts of aviation, the same mistake arises as with aviation security definition. Particularly, as it has been already mentioned, security is not a set of measures. Therefore, it is better to interpret the ecological safety of civil aviation as a state in which dangerous for the environment factors (mainly aircraft noise and emissions of harmful substances) are controlled at certain and pre-defined international and state levels. These measures are based on the standard minimum certification requirements for the subjects of aviation activity.  The adherence to the requirements and standards is rewarded with the license and certificate. 

Physical Security in the System of Aviation Security

Physical security measures are an integral part of aviation security system at airports and airdromes. The main aim of physical security is to protect the lives of passengers, crew and any person involved in the aviation system process, as well as to protect the aircraft and aviation property. Physical security aims to delay entry, detect entry, and deter entry. To deter entry, different intrusion detection systems such as signs, locks, barriers, and access control and security cameras, all of which prevent unauthorized individuals from entering prohibited facilities, are used. All of the above-mentioned tools aim to restrict the person from participating in criminal activity at the airport. In the process of fulfilling such physical security goal as “to delay entry”, the airport staff, security or law enforcement officials, a pilot, or the aircraft owner have the right to inspect suspicious individuals, who have neglected the rules of security and, therefore, prevent the crime, or the unlawful intervention into the aviation activity. At the “detection” phase, the responsible people should detect the perpetrator and resort to appropriate measures, such as stopping the criminal activity and making the criminal leave the airport, evaluate the adequacy of airport’s physical security and eliminate the gaps in safety so that future threats can be forestalled. Moreover, physical security team is responsible for the supervision over the movement of employees, airplane crews, pilots, vendors, and visitors throughout the airport. Physical security controls the access to fueling area, flight school, runaway, or fixed-base operator. All in all, this system ensures the protection and safety of every person and any property involved in the aviation process at the airport premises.  

The terms “aviation security” as well as “security of the aviation” are not determined easily. Nevertheless, it should be noted that these terms are not the same, and they cannot be equated in any case. However, the single scientific definition of aviation safety interprets it too broadly and identifies it with the security of aviation. Many scientists offer an alternative and more universal category of “providing flight safety”. Some scientists offer instead of established by the legislation term “providing aviation security” to use a more precise wording: “civil aviation insurance against acts of unlawful interference”. Moreover, scientists use a general term “fight against acts of unlawful interference into the civil aviation activity”, which has been established by the air law.

The state program of aviation security defines the term “aviation security” as a “complex of measures and human and material resources intended to protect civil aviation against acts of unlawful interference into its lawful activity”. Typically, scientists determine it as a set of measures, actions or conditions related to the category of “provision”. The definition of the security as a complex of measures, human and material resources has been borrowed from Chicago Convention Appendix 17, where the term “security” is associated only with the protection against acts of unlawful interference. Nevertheless, it is more accurate to claim that only the provision of security should be regarded.

The regulation of the safety management system of aviation defines safety as the absence of unacceptable risk associated with injury or death of people or environment. The regulations guiding the supervision of flight safety define the concept more accurately as a condition in which the risk of harm, injury or damage is limited to an acceptable level. The vast majority of scientists consider security as the state of protection from danger, which is treated as the system peculiarity and characteristic feature. An interesting insight into the aviation and physical security is offered by the scientific and technical literature. Physical security is defined as a condition in which hazards leading to physical, psychological and material loss or damage are controlled to preserve the health and well-being of individuals. This definition opposes the common scientific interpretation of security as the absence of danger claiming that it is the control of hazards at certain and predetermined level. Moreover, it emphasizes that security is a dynamic state, which requires constant maintenance and provision. The aviation security itself is defined as a complex feature of aviation transport system to perform its functions without losses (or with minimal losses) to the system or population, for the sake of which it has been developed. 

Thus, although science includes different approaches to the understanding of security, they are united by the fact that it is a state of absence of danger or control thereof, not a set of measures or resources. More specifically, in the scientific literature it is possible to encounter the definition of security both as a state and as a package of measures. However, such a view is wrong from the logical perspective, because the same thing cannot be both a state and a measure intended to ensure that state. If security is the goal, it is obvious that a set of measures and human as well as material resources are the means to achieve it.

It is logical to conclude that if security is a state of object protection from unfavorable factors, then the aviation security is a state of civil aviation protection against the acts of unlawful interference into its normal activity. This definition narrows the importance of ensuring aviation security to avoid unlawful interference into civil aviation, i.e. separate crime in the aviation transport. Therefore, for the deeper comprehension of the content of the notion of “aviation security” in the legislation, it is necessary to define an “act of unlawful interference into aviation”, which includes normative-legal acts determined in two ways.

One of the definitions of such normative-legal acts determines an illegal action of interference into the aviation system as deeds connected with encroachments on normal and safe functioning of aviation facilities, which results in accidents related to people, property damage, hijacking of the aircraft, or a situation that may potentially cause such effects. According to the Criminal Code offenses, every person who participates in the crime against physical security of aviation experiences criminal liability. State aviation security program of civil aviation defines an act of unlawful interference into aviation in another way - it contains a list of offenses covered by this term. Accordingly, one could argue that all acts of unlawful interference into aviation are crimes that result in criminal liability. As a result, the aviation security is the protection of civil aviation from criminal assault, but not from administrative offenses. It can be concluded that aviation security is construed quite narrowly in the state aviation security program of civil aviation.

Moreover, the aviation legislative projects offer the category of “security of aviation” analyzed and determined in a broader sense (in particular, completely covering aviation safety) as well as “aviation security” defined in the narrow sense (as a complex of measures directed to ensure the protection of civil aviation from acts of unlawful interference into its activity). These are the two category components of the “security of aviation”. However, human and material resources that the state program of aviation security calls aviation security, and the civil aviation security regard the provision of aviation security as neither one nor the other. Thus, all resources are a means of ensuring aviation safety.

From the above-mentioned analysis, it is possible to conclude that aviation safety is determined by the legislation narrowly, and, moreover, logically incorrectly. It appears that the usage of similarly appearing but different concepts as civil aviation security and security of aviation in the law will inevitably lead to misunderstanding in their use. These terms are identical and differ only in the order of words in the phrase from the linguistic perspective. Different interpretations of similar concepts in the legislation, even if they are linguistically equivalent, are undesirable. Instead of the term aviation security, it is better to use an equivalent in meaning, but much more precise notion of the protection of aviation against acts of unlawful interference into its functioning. Moreover, instead of the maintenance of the aviation security, it is advisable to ensure protection against acts of unlawful interference into the aircraft, which fully satisfies the definition of “a set of measures designed to protect the Civil Aviation against acts of unlawful interference into its activity”. 


In order to define the notions of civil aviation and physical security correctly, it is important to establish object of unlawful interference into the functioning of aviation. The analysis of this subject gives reason to believe that it infringes on the normal and safe activities of aviation and its facilities and, thus, affects the life, health, property, liberty and security negatively. Therefore, the criteria mentioned before appear to be a generic object of unlawful interference into aviation security system. However, in the theory of criminal and administrative law, it is acceptable to distinguish between the main and additional assault objects. It is obvious that in the acts of unlawful interference into the aviation, the main object is normal and safe activities of aviation, while life, health, property, personal freedom, and integrity are complimentary objects. On the other hand, there are no doubts that the main object of attack is the safety of aviation in general. At the same time, it is logical to argue that if acts of unlawful interference into the aviation security pose a threat to civil aviation (i.e. it is the main object of assault), then civil aviation security is a state of normal and safe functioning of an aircraft and aircraft objects. 

As a result, one can make a conclusion that the security of the aviation, in fact, involves aviation security along with physical security, ecological safety of aviation, and flight safety. The division of a single integrated concept of aviation security into three components is largely artificial and not always appropriate. Often, these components cannot be clearly identified, because aviation security ensures the safety of flights as well as physical and ecological security of aviation. In addition, informational and fire safety are mistakenly not regarded as the components of the aviation security by the legislation, and thus aviation security components are more intertwined than one could imagine. While there exists no universal definition of aviation safety, it is appropriate to determine the safety of the civil aviation broadly as a secure and normal state of civil aviation, in which hazards are controlled at certain and pre-defined level established by international and local agents. This level is defined by the minimum certification requirements for the subjects of aviation activity, for the observance of which license and certificate are issued. Based on this definition, the civil aviation security must be understood as the provision of normal and safe functioning of an aircraft and aviation facilities. Lastly, some specification has to be added to the notion of security, which is the implementation of measures designed to ensure smooth and safe aviation activities of aircraft and aviation objects.



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