The interception of Ryanair flight FR4978 – which was diverted to Belarus to arrest a journalist that opposes the regime of President Lukashenko – was severely condemned by the international community.

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While the increase in security measures and passenger controls post-9/11 has helped with threats such as hijacking, the incident showed that vulnerabilities to interference with flights remain. We find out what procedures are in place for airports to respond to such incidents, and whether the response can be improved.

To combat aviation pollution, Munich Airport has recently launched refuelling with green kerosene. We speak to the airport operator about the project and explore the potential benefits of this aviation fuel.

We also catch up with some of the airports leading the way in automated baggage handling, find out how airport and airline operators can protect themselves from cyberattacks, and ask what the downgrading of Mexico’s safety rating by the US Federal Aviation Authority means for the country’s aviation sector.

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Plus, we catch up with Medical Detection Dogs about a project using sniffer dogs to detect Covid-19 cases and the potential of this new role for sniffer dogs in airport security.

In this issue

Bags of innovation: automated baggage handling

The UK’s Stansted Airport recently completed a £70m upgrade to its baggage handling system, installing 2.4km of conveyor belts and track as well as 180 automated carts to improve efficiency. Julian Turner reports on this project and other innovations in automated baggage handling.

Sustainable aviation fuel: working towards a greener future

To combat aviation pollution, Munich Airport has recently launched refuelling with green kerosene. Frankie Youd finds out about the projects and the benefits of this fuel for aviation.

Flight FR4978 interception: what’s the threat response?

While the increase in security measures and passenger controls post-9/11 has helped with threats such as hijacking, the diversion of Ryanair flight FR4978 by Belarus in May shows that vulnerabilities to interference with flights remain. Alex Love explores what procedures are in place to deal with such incidents.

A nose for Covid-19: sniffer dog help with virus detection

Sniffer dogs are already employed in various aspects of airport security and sniffing out Covid-19 might well be another skill they bring to the job. Frankie Youd finds out about a recent trial testing dogs’ ability to identify passengers carrying the coronavirus.

Analysing the FAA’s downgrade of Mexico’s safety ratings

The US Federal Aviation Agency has recently downgraded Mexico’s safety rating because of a lack of compliance with international safety standards. Ilaria Grasso Macola analyses the factors leading to the FFA’s decision and what it will mean for Mexico.

Air India: how to prevent cyberattacks in the aviation industry

The recent theft of 4.5 million of Air India’s customers’ data highlights how cybersecurity has become a major concern for the aviation sector. Ilaria Grasso Macola analyses the incident to understand how impacted aviation is by cybersecurity threats, how they differ from physical ones and what the industry can do to protect itself.

Next issue

Following a long year of lockdowns and travel restrictions, things were starting to look positive for the airport and aviation sectors as international travel started to open up. However, following redundancies and pay cuts during the last year, many airport staff still find their jobs in uncertain positions. In our next issue, we investigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on airport and airline workers.

We also look at the latest Covid-19 testing techniques and technologies being used by airports, and check in on the development of Covid-19 travel passes and health passports, such as the EU’s Digital Green Certificate.

To reach the environmental targets set by the European Green Deal, the European Commission has recently proposed an EU-wide minimum tax rate for polluting aviation fuels. The move will impact the aviation sector massively, as the sector is currently exempt from energy taxation in the EU. We find out how the proposal could impact European aviation.

We also catch up with a project to develop a solar farm at Edinburgh Airport, which will cover 26% of the airport’s energy needs.

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