The U.S. Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) announced on December 23, 2005, that security standards at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport fell below minimum standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Responding urgently to the report, Airport Authorities are now working closely with TSA representatives to remedy the situation while extra security personnel have been deployed during the remedial period.
Until a formal re-review by TSA auditors can be carried out determining that the airport is in compliance with ICAO standards, U.S. laws mandates that individuals purchasing tickets from the United States to Bali must receive a formal notification of the airports non-compliance.
Safe Air Service to Bali Still Possible
In issuing the announcement the TSA said that it "believes that it is possible to safely conduct air service operations to and from Bandara Ngurah Rai International Airport" if proper precautions are carefully observed by both the air carriers and the airport.
Many of the international air carriers to operating to Bali have long-standing supplemental security personnel, equipment and protocols in place to complement those provided by the Airport Authority.
Main Areas of Concern
balidiscovery.com has learned that the main areas of concern to the TSA auditors addressed fencing around the airport boundaries, the close proximity of access roads to apron areas of the airport, and deficiencies in the delivery of services by security personnel on duty at Ngurah Rai.
In the days immediately following the issuance of the TSA announcement Bali's airport was visited by the Indonesian Minister of Transportation M. Hatta Rajasa, and the Minister for State-Owned Enterprises Sugiharto who convened urgent meetings with the Airport Authority's Management in order to rapidly bring facilities into complete compliance with ICAO standards and provide any additional bridging security support, as required, during the interim period.
Senior sources at the airport report that:
• Prior to the issuance of the TAS warning, the majority of the perimeter fencing concerns have been addressed with barbed-wire topped fences of up to 4 meters in height now in place in selected areas. Any remaining areas with fencing deficiencies will be addressed within the coming weeks.
• A new road that will shift traffic away from the cargo-catering aprons is nearing completion and will be opened shortly.
• A "Crisis Center" coordinated by the Airport Authority Administrator and under the command of the Denpasar Chief of Police was formally launched on November 28, 2005, and has already conducted two separate emergency simulations drills as part of an overall program of enhanced preparedness.
• All passenger, baggage and cargo screening equipment now undergo daily operational reviews with a staff now specially dedicated to maintenance and repair.
• In response to the ICAO audit, a 190% increase in security personnel is underway and expected to be completed by February 2006. To provide additional security coverage during the interim period while additional staff are recruited and trained, supplementary support in security areas is being provided at the airport by the Indonesian military.
Safe to Fly to Bali?
As stated by the TSA in their report, it is still possible to "safely conduct air service operations to and from Bandara Ngurah Rai" if proper precautions are carefully observed by carriers and the airport. The intensive and well-coordinated response on both a national and local level to the TSA report including the imminent completion of the several physical modifications recommended in the TSA audit; the introduction of an active crisis management team conducting regular drills; the massive hiring and training program now underway for additional security personnel; and bridging support from a sizeable contingent from the Indonesian Armed Forces – all suggest that the follow-up review expected to be carried out by the TSA in the coming months will once again see Bali's airport certified in compliance with ICAO standards.
Discovery Tours. Articles may be quoted and reproduced
if attributed to http://www.balidiscovery.com.