A spokesman for Cambodia’s aviation authority has indicated that the Kingdom’s airports are “prepared and ready” for a security audit by the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization that is set to begin on October 20th.
Sinn Chanserey Vutha, the Deputy Director-General of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), confirmed that ICAO officials will spend four days inspecting Phnom Penh international airport and four days inspecting Siem Reap international airport. Sihanoukville’s airport will not be inspected.
The ICAO audit will include a comprehensive check of the security standards of the State and airports. Because the Kingdom’s airports performed poorly during previous inspections, the State took big steps to meet the guidelines of the international safety body.
The upcoming audit was originally scheduled for November 2015, but was delayed twice at the request of the Cambodian government, which claimed that the aviation body needed more time to prepare. The civil aviation experts that inspected Cambodia’s airports in April found minor security lapses and advised the SSCA to hire and train more security personnel and strengthen airport fences to ensure compliance with international security guidelines. Vutha said that the agency acted on the advice and expects to pass the ICAO audit.
“We are prepared and ready now for the audit after answering all of ICAO’s preliminary questions they handed down to us,” he said. “We will have to show them evidence that we have qualified human resource capacity and proper control over the airport’s security.”
Vutha noted that if Cambodia passes inspection it would certify that the Kingdom has internationally recognized security standards, which he hoped would lead to more tourism and investment. He did note that the consequences of poor performance could be damaging.
Vutha played down concerns of receiving a failing grade, saying that ICAO would provide an opportunity for corrective action, and the body would follow up on their findings.
Sinan Thoun, chairman of the local branch of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), said that it was important that Cambodia get it right the first time.
“A positive outcome from ICAO will help attract more international carriers to Cambodia,” he said. “However, a negative result would damage the tourism sector because international tourists would not be confident in our country.”
ICAO’s Universal Security Audit Programme Continuous Monitoring Approach (USAP-CMA)
The objective of the USAP-CMA is to promote global aviation security through continuous auditing and monitoring of Member States’ aviation security performance, in order to enhance their aviation security compliance and oversight capabilities, by:
- regularly and continuously obtaining and analysing data on Member States’ aviation security performance, including the level of implementation of the critical elements of an aviation security oversight system and the degree of compliance of with Standards of Annex 17 — Security and the relevant security-related Standards of Annex 9 — Facilitation, as well as associated procedures, guidance material and security-related practices;
- identifying deficiencies in the overall aviation security performance of Member States and assessing the risks associated with such deficiencies;
- providing prioritized recommendations to assist Member States in addressing identified deficiencies;
- evaluating and validating corrective actions taken by Member States; and
- re-assessing the overall levels of Member States’ aviation security performance achieved, aimed at continuously enhancing Member States’ aviation security compliance and oversight capabilities.
About the Author
Cheng Sokhorng is a reporter for the Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia.