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REBASE - February - March 2023 Report on Business Aviation Security


 



Executive Summary

The incidents from the last few months show the importance of keeping up-to-date with the recurring and emerging security threats to the business aviation sector in Europe and the wider world. The need for timely analysis and accurate information regarding new threats is a necessity to plan ahead and take precautionary measures.


There are several new threats which pose potential risks for business aviation around the world. In Europe, climate protests have targeted runways and breached security checkpoints in the Netherlands. The risk of climate protests pose particular problems for the business aviation sector as they are explicitly the target. Commercial and private drone use near airports, have posed difficulties for business aviation which are unable to land or have faced delays.



Global

1.1. Climate activism on airport grounds

There have been multiple protests at the beginning of February 2023, targeting business/private aviation. All the actions are part of the campaign “make them pay”. On the 14th and 15th of February climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Scientist Rebellion have blockaded the business aviation entrances of multiple airports.


1.2. Drug trafficking

Business model jets have been and continued to be used for drug/contraband smuggling across the globe. These flights are usually to and from Latin America. The aim of using business jets instead of commercial aviation is to lower the chance of getting caught, and up the volume taken per flight.


1.3. Human trafficking

In order to improve the ease of human trafficking, and to stay away from prying eyes of airport security as well as cabin crew, traffickers prefer to use business jets if they can. This problem is a worldwide ordeal which is hard to combat.


Europe

2.1. Private flight reduction Schiphol Airport

In autumn 2023, the Dutch government will implement a new restriction on noise at Schiphol Airport. The Dutch government has proposed a new law to reduce half of all private jets allowed into Schiphol Airport. The new law was proposed to meet environmental standards and reduce noise around Schiphol Airport.


2.2. Extinction Rebellion protest at Eindhoven Airport

On Saturday the 25th of March, climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion organized a protest at Eindhoven Airport (EHEH). During the protest, the climate activists cut through the fences of the airport to enter the private jet platform.


2.3. Drug money smuggling at London Heathrow Airport

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has seized gold bars worth over 4.8 million dollars at London Heathrow Airport (LHR). The gold bars are suspected of belonging to South American drug cartels which have been smuggled for money laundering purposes.


2.4. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport blocked

On Thursday the 23th of March, the terminal at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) was blocked. Anti-government demonstrators launched a Black Thursday of chaos in Paris. The demonstrators blocked Terminal 1 and road access to other areas.


2.5. Private jet ban Germany

Left party leader Schirdewan is demanding a ban on private jets in Germany. The discussion is about the question of whether the state has to intervene in lifestyles with bans in order to promote climate protection.


2.6. Airspace infringement by use of commercial drones

For multiple weeks in the past two months, commercial drones have been disturbing operations at Dublin Airport. These infringements resulted in delayed departures, holding patterns and even diversions.


Middle East

3.1. Overflight Risks

Recent developments in the region have caused a need for extra security measures differing per country. These are important to adhere to, as ignoring the risks while overflying can lead to catastrophic results.


3.2. Protest in Israel

As of the 27th of March, protests in Israel against the proposed reforms of the judicial system by Prime Minister Netanyahu have escalated.


Asia

4.1. Human trafficking private jet flight at NAIA

Unauthorized individuals slipped onto a private jet at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The flight was Dubai bound. The authorities were unable to stop the flight, even after an anonymous tip on the supposedly human trafficking activity.


4.2. New Zealand pilot hostage Papua

In the Indonesian region of West Papua, independence fighters have taken a New Zealand pilot hostage. The pilot is taken hostage due to political motives. The indepence fighters will only free the pilot if the country of Indonesia acknowledges the freedom of West Papua.


4.3. Shot at an airplane in Indonesia

Trigana Air Boeing 737-500, flight IL221, was hit by gunfire on departure from Yahukimo Nop Dekai Goliat Airport (DEX) in Indonesia. The four gunshots were heard when the aircraft made the final approach to Yahukimo Airport. The aircraft could land without issue, with no injuries or damage reported.


4.4. Electronic interference Chinese navy

China’s navy is suspected of being behind disrupting communications for both military- and civilian flights over the South Pacific and Indian Ocean. The electronic interference included blocking aircraft from using the Global Navigation Satellite System.


4.5. Regional instability

Political instability in some countries have led to recurring protests, particularly in Myanmar and Nagorno-Karabakh. Instabilities in some countries prove themselves risky to aviation, including business aviation. This ranges from minimum flight levels to security issues on the ground.


Africa

5.1. Overflight risks

Recent developments in the region have caused a need for extra security measures differing per country. These are important to adhere to, as ignoring the risks while overflying can lead to catastrophic results.


North America

6.1. Security contractor back out in the United States

It is unclear at Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming who will be the new airport security screening contractor, starting on the 1st of May. The new contractor Aviation Management Management LCC told employees that it was backing out. There is no evident reason why the new contractor is backing out.


6.2. Private helicopter theft and crash in the United States

On the 15th of March a thief crashed a helicopter at Sacramento Executive Airport (KSAC), the thief is missing. The helicopter crash caused damage to multiple aircraft at KSAC. De debris appeared to span hundreds of yards over the airport apron.


South America

7.1. Airport heist Chile

On Wednesday the 8th of March, ten heavily armed robbers in three vehicles entered the premises of Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCEL/SCL), after tying up a security guard. The target was 32.5 million dollars from a LATAM Airline Boeing 787-9, operating flight LA501 from Miami.


Forecast

The threats to the business aviation sector between February 2023 and March 2023 are likely to pose continuing threats in the coming months. Climate protestors are likely to continue targeting business aviation worldwide and pose risks to airport security. Steps are being taken by the authorities to reduce the incidents of commercial drones disrupting airspaces. In Asia and South America, continuing instability and the use of aviation for human smuggling and drug trafficking is widespread throughout the region. The security risks identified are likely to pose threats for the foreseeable future. Recognizing the potential risks and creating scenarios are vital for security for the business aviation sector.


Global

1.1. Climate activism on airport grounds

The protests during February 2023 were a part of the coordinated action launched last week. Climate activists from eleven countries targeted multiple sites in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. There have been protests at: Aeroporto de Cascais (Portugal), Milan Malpensa Airport (Italy), Essendon Fields Airport (Australia), Schiphol Airport (The Netherlands), Aeropuerto de Sevilla (Spain), Stockholm Bromma Airport (Sweden), London Luton Airport (UK), private airport in Raleigh North Carolina (US), Oakland International Airport (US), Boeing Field (US), private jet terminal Seattle (US), Palma de Mallorca Airport (Spain), Ibiza Airport (Spain), Vaernes Airport (Norway) and Christchurch Airport (New Zealand). Also, XR Belgium infiltrated the European Business Aviation Association conference in Brussels and stood on the stage with signs. The British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA) Annual Conference 2023 in central London has been disrupted by two climate change activists.


1.2. Drug trafficking

Drug trafficking is still a present risk for business aviation. For organized crime groups and cartels, business aviation is sometimes the preferred method of transportation when compared to commercial aviation. Due to the association of drug trafficking with profitability for crime organizations, firearm smuggling and use in terrorist organizations, the drug trafficking world is considered as dangerous as terrorism.


1.3. Human trafficking

With human trafficking still being a major issue to this day, the involvement of business aircraft is to be expected. In commercial aviation steps have been made and are still being made in recent years to improve the awareness and by that prevention of human trafficking. While steps being made is an objectively good thing, it does have the potential to push human traffickers into finding other solutions.


One of these solutions for human traffickers is business/private aviation. If one can overcome the increased costs of such an operation compared to trafficking via commercial aviation, it allows for flights to smaller airports with less experienced and not as many employees as on a major commercial airport. Additionally, in countries which are not as stable as one would hope, it is easier to bribe or even blackmail customs agents/border guards to turn a blind eye to what you are doing.




Europe

2.1. Private flight reduction Schiphol Airport

During 2022 there were 22.372 private aviation flights to Schiphol Airport. Under the new government policy there should be no more than 11.500 private aviation flights arriving at the airport. There is also reported that the governing body of Schiphol Airport wants to give 2.5 percent of its annual flight movements. To adhere to the new restrictions, the government proposed the reduction of private flights. The flag carrier of the Netherlands, KLM, supports the initiative from the government. A trade association representing private aviation in the Netherlands, EBAA, is against the initiative of the government. The EBAA believes that the corporate aviation industry is an important engine for the economic growth in the Netherlands.


2.2. Extinction Rebellion protest at Eindhoven Airport

On Saturday the 25th of March, climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion organized a protest at Eindhoven Airport (EHEH). Climate activists demanded that EHEH must stop the polluting aviation operations, and to comply with the climate regulations and decrease the number of flights. The organization, Extinction Rebellion, expected around 500 climate activists for the action. A group of climate activists cut through a fence and gathered on the platform where the private jets are parked. Some climate activists left when ordered by the police; those who refused, around 100, were arrested. Because of the protest, a total of ten flights, to and from EHEH, were canceled or relocated.


2.3. Drug money smuggling at London Heathrow Airport

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has seized gold bars worth over 4.8 million dollars at London Heathrow Airport (LHR). The gold bars are suspected of belonging to South American drug cartels. The gold bars have been smuggled for money laundering purposes. The seizure of NCA was part of an international investigation. The investigation discovered that the gold initially moved by private jet from Venezuela to the Cayman Islands.


2.4. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport blocked

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), was blocked on Thursday the 23th of March. Anti-government demonstrators launched a Black Thursday of chaos in Paris. The demonstrators blocked Terminal 1 and road access to other areas. Passengers were forced to walk on the roads to access the airport. Such actions, as on CDG, were replicated across France, as oil depots, town halls, ports, and other transport links were blockaded. The protest movement is against raising the pension age from 62 to 64. The protest started on the 19th of January and the protest is still going on. The protest began as a peaceful trade union-organized strike and has shifted to more impromptu protest gatherings over the 10 past days. The government has vowed to hold firm. It is uncertain how many more days of strike action would be called.


2.5. Private jet ban Germany

Leftist party leader Schirdewan is demanding a ban on private jets in Germany. The discussion is about the question of whether the state has to intervene in lifestyles with bans in order to promote climate protection. According to Schirdewan the action against private jets is not being taken hard enough at EU level in particular.


2.6. Airspace infringement by use of commercial drones

On the 21st of February operations at Dublin Airport were suspended for 30 minutes following the sighting of a drone within the airport’s airspace boundary. The drone is not the first occurrence of the month. The latest event follows three days of disruption at Dublin Airport caused by drone sightings earlier this month. During the three days of disruptions, between the 4th and 7th of February, there were widespread disruption, delays, cancellations and diversions at the airport.


Middle East

3.1 Overflight Risks

Developments in the region have caused a need for extra security measures. These include an advised minimum flight level of 320 over Iraq, with a focus on Baghdad. Additionally, GPS interference is to be expected when overflying the country as well as Lebanon, Turkey and Israël. Iranian airspace remains unsafe for western aviation to use, with the same applying to Afghanistan (except for P500/G500), Yemen and Syria. Overflying Saudi Arabia is safe, as long as flying above FL260.


3.2. Protest in Israel

During the Israel protests on the 27th of March, striking workers joined the protests and declared a nationwide strike against the proposed reforms. The protests and strikes in the country had led to the closing of highways and, for a short time, Ben Gurion Airport (TLV). Protests in Israel will likely continue in the future.


Asia

4.1 Human trafficking on private jet at NAIA in Philippines

Unauthorized individuals slipped onto a private jet at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The flight was Dubai bound. The authorities were unable to stop the flight, even after an anonymous tip on the supposedly human trafficking activity. Besides the one declared passenger, three additional people got on board before the flight’s departure.


4.2 Pilot held hostage in West Papua (Indonesia)

The pilot taken hostage around two months ago in West Papua is still being held by his captors. The fate of his passengers is known by now, as they were released by the separatists for being locals to the region. There was no news heard from him until the 10th of March, when a video was released where he appeared alive. The demands made by the separatists for his release is that Indonesia recognises West Papua as separate from Indonesia. For now, no end is in sight to his captivity.


4.3 Aircraft hit by gunfire on departure in Indonesia

A 737 from Trigana Air was hit while departing from Dekai Nop Goliat Airport. The bullet penetrated the cabin but was stopped in a passenger seat. Even though this was a commercial flight, the apparent indiscriminate nature of the gunfire means any aircraft could be targeted by whomever targeted the 737.


4.4 Electronic interference by Chinese Navy

Over the South Pacific and near the Indian ocean, aircraft experienced interference in the use of the GNSS, as well as RADALT systems. The suspected reason is unidentified warships, likely belonging to the Chinese Navy. Additionally, some aircraft were called over the radio by “Military warships” sometimes given vectors deviating them around the airspace above the calling warship. A notice regarding the situation was released by IFALPA, instructing pilots to ignore the calls from the ship, and instead immediately contact the ATC of the local FIR.


4.5 Regional instability

Myanmar is a country that has been troubled for a long time, a recent development however is that it is advisable to overfly Myanmar at a minimum flight level of 320. This is because of anti air weapons present in the country, in combination with the combative nature of the country at this point in time.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region still holds a security threat, as it has shown many examples of combat flaring up without warning. There are many anti air systems located in this region, capable of engaging aircraft at great heights. Thus, overflying this region should be avoided.


Africa

5.1 Overflight risks

Overflying Africa comes with its own risks differing per country, with Libya being the only one with a do no fly advisory. There are several countries which can be overflown while sticking to a security advisory.

  • Egypt, with an advice to fly above flight level 300 over the Sinai region due to anti air systems being in the hands of terrorist organizations in the region.

  • Ethiopia, the Tigray region remains unstable even though an official peace deal was signed in November. In this region too are anti air systems. The advice is to avoid overflying the region.

  • Somalia, the advice here too is to not overfly the country below a flight level of 300, this is because of the instability in the country in combination with the presence of anti air systems.

  • Kenya, the border region has an overspill effect of the civil war in Somalia, thus posing the same threat as in Somalia itself, to not fly below flight level 300.

  • Mali, here too is an advice to not fly below flight level 300 over the country, because of the presence of anti air systems in the hands of militants.

  • Western Sahara, Due to the conflict in the region between Morocco and the independence movement in the region, there is a risk of anti air weaponry in the region, the advice is to stick to a flight level of 200 or more.


North America

6.1 Security contractor back out in the United States

At Jackson Hole airport (Wyoming), the expected security contractor backed out of the contract, leaving the airport with a lack of security employees from May 1st. The airport will support travel, and will proceed uninterrupted with security screenings provided by the TSA instead of a private contractor.


6.2. Private Helicopter theft and crash in the United States

On the 15th of March a thief crashed a helicopter at Sacramento Executive Airport (KSAC), the thief is missing. The helicopter crash caused damage to multiple aircraft at KSAC. The debris appeared to span hundreds of yards over the airport apron. According to the Sacramento police, the unknown suspect broke into the airport and attempted to start four helicopters during the incident. It is unknown if the person of interest is connected to the airport or the crashed helicopter (Capital Helicopters).


South America

7.1 Airport heist Chile

On Wednesday the 8th of March around 6.30 local time, ten heavily armed robbers in three vehicles entered the premises of Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCEL/SCL), after tying up a security guard. At 7.00 local time a LATAM Airline Boeing 787-9, operating flight LA501 from Miami arrived at the airport, which was the target for the robbers. At the gate a Brink’s Security Truck was ready to haul 32.5 million dollars in cash from the aircraft. During the crucial process of unloading and transferring, the perpetrators opened the fire on the airport workers unloading the cargo from the aircraft. During the shoot-oot, one DGAC officer and one of the thieves was killed. Eventually, the heist failed and two vehicles that were used to access the airport were found in the vicinity of the airport grounds.


 
REBASE February - March 2023
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About Dyami Aviation Services Our experts have extensive aviation security and intelligence experience at the highest international level; for airlines and corporate jet operators alike. Our services are broad: from AOC application support, security policy design, threat assessments, to crew training. Our security risk & threat assessments focus on overflight risk during flight operations. They contain actionable intelligence to ensure a safe and secure operation. Is it safe for your crew to operate the planned route? What is the actual situation regarding (geo)political factors, crime, corruption, espionage, terrorism or health risks? Our extensive reports are easily understandable to allow you to anticipate properly and make better critical decisions. >> www.dyami.services/aviation



About European Business Aviation Association The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) is the leading organization for operators of business aircraft in Europe. EBAA represents more than 700 companies from across the entire value chain of the European Business aviation industry.EBAA works to improve safety standards and share knowledge, to further positive regulation, and to ease all aspects of carefully tailored, flexible, point to point air transportation for individuals, governments, businesses and local communities in the most time-efficient way possible. Founded in 1977 and based in Brussels (Belgium), EBAA represents more than 700 companies, corporate operators, commercial operators, manufacturers, airports, fixed-base operators, and more, with a total fleet of more than 1,000 aircraft. The association provides more than 50 products and services to the Business aviation community, including the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE), Europe’s largest Business aviation trade show. >> https://www.ebaa.org/


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