Tuesday, 22 April 2008 8:32 AM

Alert, But Not Alarmed

Staff at Henderson International airport say they are more confident about their ability to identify a bomb hidden in a passenger's bag following a workshop held by RAMSI.

RAMSI Participating Police Force (PPF) bomb expert, Peter Bachen, said the training also tried to reinforce what could happen if suspect items were moved or touched by untrained people.

To demonstrate the importance of being alert to suspicious bags, airport staff were shown images of a bomb technician killed in an explosion, a suitcase wired to explode on a phone call and an airplane crash which killed over 200 people after a bomb explosion.

Airport Security Training Officer, Jennifer Kela, thanked RAMSI for providing the training and said that airport security remains the responsibility of everybody, not just the police.

"No matter who you are, we all have to take responsibility for the security of the airport," she told the group.

The group consisted of members of the Solomon Islands Police Force, Customs, Quarantine and Aviation Security.

The workshop came as part of a move by the airport to be accredited by the International Civil Aviation Organisation as an approved international airport.

Security Manager, Alson Navo, along with his RAMSI PPF colleague Luke Cutting and SIPF Superintendent Daniel Hunikira, are spearheading the push for accreditation and were pleased to see that the airport staff now have a greater understanding of airport security.

"This is the first awareness talk that we have had involving all stakeholders at the airport," Mr. Navo says. "We are planning to do more in the next few months."

"We also plan to increase the public's awareness of airport security through the media. This will happen soon."

PPF Advisor Cutting and SIPF Superintendent Daniel Hunikura are quietly confident in the Honiara International Airport's progress towards accreditation.

"Last year there was an audit conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation," Mr Cutting said. "A number of recommendations were made and must be met before accreditation can be given. We are well on the way to achieving that."