The International Air Transportation Association on Tuesday warned that governments should not take rash actions to address aviation security following the discovery of two bombs on U.S.-bound flights in Dubai and the UK last week.
"Effective solutions are not developed unilaterally or in haste," said IATA Director General Giovanni Bisignani.
"We have seen many cases where these have unintended consequences," Bisignani told IATA's aviation security conference in Frankfurt, Germany. "Industry is cooperating with government directives on targeted actions for Yemen-origin cargo. If there are any longer-term adjustments required, we must do so with all the facts in hand with measures targeted to meet specific tasks."
Bisignani said the discovery of the bombs in printer cartridges shipped from Yemen has put cargo security at the top of IATA's agenda. But the shipments have also brought new scrutiny to cargo security regulations that now require 100 percent of all shipments on passenger planes in the United States to be screened but do not impose the same requirement on inbound international freight or on cargo carried on freighters.
John Pistole, head of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, told the same conference that any restrictions must take the flow of commerce into account.
"Security cannot bring business to a standstill," Pistole said. Protecting freedom of movement is at the heart of our mission."
IATA, which represents 230 airlines worldwide, said governments and industry should cooperate on investment in processes, technology and risk management.
Bisignani also called for greater effort to speed up the application of new technologies. "Currently, there is no government certified technology to screen standard size pallets and large items," Bisignani said. "There is some promising technology but it is taking far too long to move from the laboratory to the airport. We must speed up the process."
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