Published On: Fri, May 19th, 2017

Leticia Monteagudo during CAP Conference: “Every airport can be a target!”

CAPWILLEMSTAD – This week the Curaçao Airport Partners (CAP) held its 4th annual Aviation Security Conference at the Renaissance Resort. This conference was focused mainly on the threat of terrorism in aviation and the impact that can result from these attacks, such as the economic impact.

The guest speak was Leticia Monteagudo who is the Executive Director of Smart Security Airport Consulting and a former Executive of the IATA (International Air Transport Association), with twenty-five years of Aviation background and expertise.

She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Administration and among others certifications from the Harvard Business Mentor Program. Mrs. Monteagudo has interacted with over 400 airports; facilitated over 180 global campaigns; conducted risk assessment and passenger facilitation projects, case studies, and assessments in 22 countries and in 60 international airports.

Curaçao Chronicle had the opportunity to speak with Mrs. Monteagudo during a short break. She indicated to us that the theme of her presentation was ‘Every Passenger Counts’. Within that presentation she touched points on the impact of terrorism, not only globally, but what would happen if it comes to Curaçao. What would happen to the airport or to the economy of the country? She talked about what the effect of such a tragedy would have, psychologically, the economy, welfare of jobs and other things.

During her presentation Mrs. Monteagudo gave real life examples such as the incidents at the airports in Brussels_DSC3567 and Fort Lauderdale. She illustrated some of the lessons learned after these horrific incidents.

“The key message is that we are a society that is reactive but we are not proactive.”

Mrs. Monteagudo also indicated that every airport is a soft target, including Curaçao. “Why do I say that? Because the terminal is public space. Anyone can walk in that terminal and when I say anyone, I mean anyone with malicious intent, with radical intention being a passenger or not. And because when you have a public space such as an airport, crowded masses of people, it becomes a soft target.”

Her recommendation for Curaçao is to conduct a comprehensive airport assessment of the land side. She also explained that the airport has two sides. It has the air side, measured from the gate to the landing strip, and the other side is from the gate to the parking. Her area of expertise is the landside which is the gate to the parking.

She supports airports in positioning and developing appropriate security risk assessments aimed at improving passenger throughput at check-points, optimizes flow through the terminal landside and contributes towards an improved passenger journey to airside.

According to Monteagudo, everyone who participated in the conference has a vested interest in making sure that the Curaçao airport operates efficiently and effectively. The other side is that there are things that could be done, quick wins that would be implemented.

She also indicated that the Curaçao airport has nice facilities even now when there are construction works taking place. She used the temporary corridor, where passengers have to go through to get to the arrivals hall, as an example. “It’s really one of the bests I have seen and I’ve been to a lot of places.”

She has been working with the Curaçao Airport Partners for about five years now and she indicated that she has good experience with them. “The management has changed as it normally does, you have new CEO’s that come in, CEO’s that step out. The security manager that I normally deal with has been instrumental. I just hope that all the instrumental people, especially the new CEO, we can get something going. What do we need going? We need an actual assessment done by an independent contractor that is outside of the airport. Why independent? Because an employee or a stakeholder that works within CAP will not be able to see what a fresh pair of eyes will see. We look for very specific things. Once they get that done, you will see a different Curaçao in terms of the airport.”

At a broader scale of contributions and engagement, Mrs. Monteagudo is part of an extensive network of industry professionals and commonly engages with governments, regulatory authorities, law enforcement, TSA, third party screening authorities, ICAO, AVSEC and other international organizations in efforts to synchronize and implement a safe risk-based passenger security process that will enhance not only security, but also passenger facilitation at airports.

Mrs. Monteagudo became the regional ambassador for IATA’s Security Access and Egress Program that later evolved to Smart Security initiatives.

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