Operating in Lebanon

By David Esler
Source: Business & Commercial Aviation

Here's how a major flight department interacts with its company's corporate security department, as told by Andrew Wilkinson, standards captain at PepsiCo: “We are a big international company, and we have a security department with contacts in the countries in which we do business. We get our itinerary in advance, and security gets it concurrently. Then they research where we're going and issue the flight crew a 'security passport.'

“Most of our security professionals are former Secret Service with contacts in the countries we travel to and the U.S. embassies there. They prepare a security brief and give it to the crews with contact info for our people on the ground there. We carry satphones on the airplane and take them with us on the ground just in case the cell networks go down. You always want to be self-sufficient.”

Lebanon and Aviation

Walid A. Phares, Ph.D., who addressed the 2013 NBAA International Operators Conference in San Diego this March on terrorism, is a recognized expert in Middle Eastern affairs and a native Lebanese. Here are his thoughts on aviation security in Lebanon and the country's relationship with aviation:

“When we analyze aviation security in a country that had and continues to have military clashes, terror attacks, assassinations, and almost daily clashes, we must take into consideration two levels. One is the state of laws and aviation technology in the country. Two is the military and security situation of the country, which can and is impacting aviation security regardless of the actual notion of aviation safety.

“In other words, Lebanon as a country at peace is successful in terms of managing aviation flight plans, logistics and resources on the ground, and air traffic control. It has an old and well-established aviation history and has had excellent pilots and operators. Lebanese pilots have flown to almost every country in the world and served with international companies with great success.

“Because of its size, about 16 millions worldwide, and distribution internationally within 32 countries, the Lebanese Diaspora has been also a significant contributor to Lebanon's aviation culture and education. Lebanese pilots, engineers, and operators have served worldwide and in the United States and have contributed to the level of expertise in the aviation field in Lebanon.

“Hence, on the strict technical and operational levels, Beirut Airport and the Lebanese airspace system in general have acceptable safety levels as per ICAO established procedures and recommended standards. However, there are certain zones in the Lebanese airspace that are declared restricted or prohibited areas by the Lebanese Army. Such areas are avoided by civil aviation.”

Phares on the Lebanese

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