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Prime Minister seeks UN action to make air travel safer

Theresa May urges world leaders to back a landmark UN Security Council resolution on aviation security at her first UN General Assembly this week.

In the wake of the Metrojet disaster in Egypt, the suspected laptop bomb on a flight from Mogadishu and attacks on airport Brussels and Istanbul, the UK has been driving efforts to improve adherence to international safety standards in airports around the world.

As well as sharing practical expertise with countries around the world, the UK has put forward the first ever UN Security Council resolution on aviation security with the aim of galvanising international action to better protect people from the terrorist threat to air travel.

The resolution calls on:

  • the International Civil Aviation Organisation to step up its efforts to establish individual countries’ compliance with international standards
  • countries to ensure that they have effective measures in place through enhancing screening, security checks and facility security
  • encourages developed countries to provide technology assistance and resources to help other countries provide more effective domestic aviation security measures
  • promotes the development of new technologies to detect explosives and other threats
  • requires airlines to provide advance passenger information to help detect the movement of terrorists.

Speaking ahead of her visit to the UN, the Prime Minister said:

In the face of an increasing terrorist threat, it is vital that we work with other countries to keep our people safe. I am determined that the UK should take a leading role in driving progress towards greater aviation security.

This historic UN resolution will galvanise international action to improve security measures - and focus support on countries more vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

The UK is already sharing our expertise in this area and the new resolution will be another step forward in the fight against terrorism, helping to make it safer for British tourists travelling by air.

In recent weeks, the UK has been working to secure the backing of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. China, the United States and France are all on board, with Russia close to agreeing the proposals. We are now seeking the necessary support of other countries on the Security Council with the aim of adopting the resolution at a meeting of foreign ministers in New York on Thursday.

The resolution is timed to coincide with the triennial assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which takes place directly after UNGA and where further practical action could be agreed.

As well as the obvious risks to life, aviation threats damage economies and trading relationships meaning the knock-on effect of attacks can be felt across the world.

The UK has already taken a number of steps to improve international aviation security, including:

  • substantially expanding our network of UK Aviation Security Liaison Officers to ensure the safety of British travellers across the globe
  • conducting regular reviews of security measures at airports around the world
  • helping to improve security at airports in North Africa and Asia.

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