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Reducing risk brings its rewards for Bakr

Posted 15 May 2020 · Add Comment

International SOS company, MedAire, which specialises in medical and travel security services to aviation and maritime clients, recently appointed Hany Bakr to the newly created role of security director for Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA). Dave Calderwood reports.

Hany Bakr is quite clear about his new role. “I assist clients in managing and mitigating risks to their people, their aircraft and their operations,” he said.
“MedAire has provided security service to the aviation industry since 1998. This role was created to support our clients in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in response to the growing need in the industry for unbiased, third-party intelligence, advice and assistance services.”
Bakr has more than 20 years’ experience in the aviation and travel industries, holding executive leadership positions in various airlines’ ground operations, safety, quality and security, both in Europe and the Gulf regions.
“At the Qatar Airways Group, I was acting vice president group security, accountable for all aspects of aviation and corporate security worldwide, ensuring the company’s 50,000 employees and operations in more than 100 countries had appropriate strategic oversight, security risk management, and complied with national and international regulations,” he explained.
“I also led group asset protection, with overall responsibilities for worldwide employees, criminal investigations, cyber security, access control and video surveillance systems, airports and corporate offices for the Qatar Airways group companies.”
Aviation security risks, which MedAire is helping clients to mitigate, include:
• Flights operating over, around, or adjacent to airspace considered problematic by some states – conflict zones;
• Civil unrest affecting aircrew, company business travellers, local employees, and flight and airport operations; and
• Terrorism, non-state actors’ and lone-wolf incidents compromising law and order in cities and other jurisdictions.
“The safety of people, aircraft and operations are absolutely inter-related. Operators must consider risks in and around airfields, threats in a country’s airspace, and information on events that could affect flight operations or crew and passenger safety,” said Bakr.
“Aviation security, as it relates to crew, must extend past the aircraft – pre-flight and post-flight. Airports are attractive targets for insurgents and terrorists, as are hotels – two locations where crew and aviation support staff are often located.
“In terms of aircraft and operations, questions have to be asked: can aircraft safely operate in the area? Can aircraft be left unattended? Is there adequate lodging for the crew overnight?”
Specific risks the company is monitoring today include parts of the Middle East, Asia, north Africa and the Horn of Africa, Latin America, southern Europe, and east Asia, which are either under flight operations restriction or prohibition by numerous states.
Parts of those regions are considered conflict zones by some states in which flight operations are either restricted to certain altitudes, airways, or completely prohibited.
Beyond these regions, there are several other areas in east Asia, the sub-Indian continent, and the Middle East where geopolitical tensions have raised the overflight risks due to escalation in hostilities.
Over the past 12 months, there have been significant examples of civil unrest in major cities around the world – protests, demonstrations, and strikes. There are direct and indirect implications for air carriers and their personnel.
“MedAire’s role is to provide independent, unbiased intelligence and advice. It is always the client’s discretion on how to move forward, based on their individual risk threshold,” said Bakr.
“We offer a number of services to inform, educate and advise our clients on how to mitigate security risks to their operations – pre-flight, in-flight and while at destination.
“One is the alerting system whereby, through a globally positioned footprint, MedAire’s intelligence team scan, round the clock, and through a wide array of resources, for aviation-specific and travel risk information that can have an impact on aviation operations and personnel safety. This information helps clients make tactical, operational and strategic decisions.
“Specific services include go/no-go flight assessments, airspace assessments based on MedAire’s proprietary airspace risk analysis tool, aviation travel security briefs, which provide recommendations for safely conducting operations into – and in the vicinity of – a specific airport.
“Aviation alerts notify subscribers when events occur that may affect air travel or the aviation industry. In addition, we provide medical and travel alerts, which provide actionable safety advice for emerging medical and safety events to crew and personnel,” he concluded.
 

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