In recent years there have been several breaches of perimeter security, allowing people to gain access to restricted areas of airports across the world. “These security breaches highlight the need for a renewed focus on airport perimeter security,” says Alec Owen, international client manager at Future Fibre Technologies (FFT).

Outlined below are three incidents from different countries which have occurred over the past two years. Although the incidents only involved civilians breaking into restricted areas of airports for harmless reasons, these civilians were able to breach security, which could have led to any number of situations costing money, and most importantly, lives.

Sky News reported in 2008 that protestors had gained access to the tarmac of a major UK airport and climbed on top of a plane. The incident did not cause any disruption to services, but it exposed a hole in the airport’s security as the protestors managed to leave the terminal, cross the tarmac and climb a set of stairs onto the fuselage undetected.

In Canada in April this year, two politicians gained access to the tarmac at an international airport without drawing the attention of the airport security, as reported by Canwest News Service.

Just a few months ago, a man was arrested for criminal trespassing after making his way into a restricted area of an airport in the US, Channel 6 news reported. Despite being intoxicated, the man was able to get onto the tarmac in the baggage handling area before he was spotted by ground crew.

Superior security at a low operating cost

The need for increased perimeter security measures is clear, but it can be costly for airports to implement these measures as operators earn comparatively less income on the tarmacs compared to the revenue generated within the terminal, where retailers’ rents help to cover the cost.

Fibre optic perimeter security systems such as FFT’s Secure Fence™ and Secure Zone™ systems are the only ones requiring no electronics or power in the field and are easy and economical to install or expand. Therefore they deliver the lowest ongoing total cost of ownership and become financially viable perimeter security applications. Other solutions need power and communications in the field directly or via solar panels, batteries and wireless networks, which adds complexity, increases the number of points of failure and reduces overall system reliability.

Only FFT’s Secure Fence and Secure Zone systems contain FFT’s patented advanced recognition and discrimination technology, which overcomes typical airport problems of nuisance alarms that are common with other solutions while maintaining maximum sensitivity to intrusion events. When a real intrusion is detected, the systems work by instantly displaying the location or zone where an alarm is triggered and automatically logging the event into a secure database. An alarm signal is sent to a high level command and control system where CCTV, lights and Modbus devices are activated, allowing for the intrusion to be investigated by security staff.

The low-cost fibre optic sensor cable is easily attached to the perimeter fence to detect intrusion attempts and the system can be configured so that if the cable is cut in one zone, the remaining zones continue to operate normally.

A single FFT Secure Fence system can protect airport perimeters up to 80km long, making it the ideal choice to get your airport perimeter security up to scratch without breaking the bank.