The airport: safety, security e complexity

The complex “airport” system: safety, security and economic development

The airport is an articulated, vital system in which various actors operate.

Within the aviation supply chain, the airport provides a variety of services finalised at ensuring the highest level of efficiency and safety for the passenger. In addition, the airport makes a major contribution to the economic and social development of the country by ensuring the mobility of people and goods nationally and internationally.

Who manages the airport?

Pursuant to the Italian Code of Navigation, it is managed by a concessionary company entrusted by the State, under the supervision of ENAC – Ente Nazionale per l’Aviazione Civile (National Civil Aviation Authority), with the task of administering airport infrastructure and coordinating and controlling the activities of the various private entities operating there. ENAC represents Italy in the major international civil aviation organisations, the ICAO, the ECAC, the EASA, EUROCONTROL, with which it maintains continuous relations of exchange and collaboration and in which it holds leadership positions. Article 10, paragraph 13 of Law 537/93 and the subsequent Ministerial Decree no. 521 of 12 November 1997 provided for the establishment of special companies for the management of airports.

What is the priority for the Airport Manager?


The Airport Manager, together with other operators in the chain, safeguards passenger safety in accordance with EU and national regulations under the supervision of ENAC. Safety is for all intents and purposes a priority for aviation and is expressed in two different meanings. That is, safety and security

Safety and security: the differences

Safety represents security from the perspective of aircraft design, construction, maintenance and operation, as well as the assessment of the fitness of aircraft operators and flight personnel. This also includes all measures implemented by the Airport Manager as part of the Safety Management System, i.e., the system designed to ensure that airport operations are carried out under pre-determined safety conditions while evaluating the effectiveness of the system in order to take action to correct any deviations.

Security, on the other hand, represents all activities aimed at preventing terrorist acts and/or unlawful acts on the ground, on board aircraft and, more generally, in the airport.

Safety according to FibreFENCE

How does FibreFENCE contribute to ensuring the highest possible safety and security standards at all airport facilities? That is possible thanks to the production technology it uses for the manufacturing of its fences. An efficient, reliable and durable perimeter fence is the first, essential step in achieving this goal. The complete solution for fencing and protecting sensitive airport areas surrounding ILS or Radar equipment and devices.

In fact, most modern airports have hundreds of radio transmitting or receiving devices and antennas scattered throughout. They are used by critical landing assistance systems (ILS, MLS, GLS, TLS, NDB, VOR, DME) and weather or road radars. Most of them are extremely sensitive to potential interference generated by any metal structure within their range of action. Because of the critical role played by these devices, the design and manufacture of any surrounding premises are governed by detailed international standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), with possible improvements established by local civil aviation authorities. These regulations impose precise frangibility characteristics on any structure near runways in order to minimise damage in the event of a possible impact with an aircraft.

Perception of the Italian airport system

Research was conducted for Assaeroporti by Istituto Demopolis, analysing the perceptions of air transport and the airport system by the Italian public (with the study of a demographic sample of 4,800 respondents) and three strategic targets: air transport users, political and institutional representatives, entrepreneurs and business executives.

In general, the profile of Italy’s airport system is perceived as strategic and a key driver for the country’s recovery, it is perceived as the safest means of transportation, but not the “greenest”, although the highest figures collected on CO2 emissions come from road transport.

Beyond statements of principle on the importance of the sector, – said the President of Assaeroporti, Carlo Borgomeo – in our country there is a general underestimation of the positive effects that air transport and the airport system determine on economic development and, in particular, on employment. And the results of the survey confirm this. As is also confirmed the overemphasis on the environmental impact of air transportation even though, concretely, in the travel choices of Italians, this judgement has a very marginal effect. For the airport system – Borgomeo continues – there is therefore a growing commitment to make relations with the territories even stronger and more incisive and to continue with the substantial green investment programmes, which place Italian airports at the summit, at the European level, in the fight against climate change. However, such efforts must be accompanied by public policies that are more attentive to the entire industry.  The hope – Borgomeo concludes – is that, with the National Airport Plan, our sector can regain centrality in the framework of transportation policies.”

In the world of civil aviation, everything is changing very fast, both in the air and on the ground – commented the President of ENAC State’s Attorney Pierluigi Di Palma. – There is a clear sense of this, in how distances have shortened and how the quality of airports is adapting to the changing needs of passengers. As ENAC, we have initiated what we call the reconciliation between environment and air transport, guaranteed and supported by technological innovation that fosters their synthesis. Keeping in mind that alongside intermodal train-plane integration, we are developing air-air integration, with a view to a new mobility that will lead us, just to give one example, to arriving at our front door by going down the stairs and not by climbing them, because we will arrive from the roof and not from the street.”

The President of ENAV, Francesca Isgrò said: “I am pleased that the survey presented today highlighted that air travel is perceived as the safest mode of transportation. ENAV is focusing on innovation and digitalisation to combine maximum safety standards with sustainability. We have just approved the new 2022-2024 Business Plan and the Future Sky 2031 Strategic Plan that will bring a digital transformation of air navigation services. We will integrate new solutions developed for drones and invest in sustainable technology. Our platforms make it possible to fly aircraft in ways that are always more efficient, and by 2023 we will also activate a new system to increase the efficiency of incoming flights in congested airports, providing about 28 kilograms of CO2 emissions reduction per individual aircraft.”

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