Today and yesterday the Airport IT & Security Expo took place in Vienna and hosted CIOs, Airport Directors and Heads of Operations to discuss airport security, nuclear security and disaster & crisis management. One of the keynote speakers during the Airport Security Program was Mr. Ilja Bonsen, Managing Director of IB Consultancy.

On the morning of the 12th of September, Mr. Bonsen answered several important questions regarding the threat of chemical and biological (CB) weapons in aviation. The most important one is: how real is the threat of a CB attack against aviation? The answer is that the threat is real. It should not be underestimated that airports are targets with great symbolic value. Whilst Annex 6 (Chicago Convention) demands that aircrew are trained to respond to a chemical or biological weapons incident in-flight, airports do not currently screen passengers or industry employees for such substances. Furthermore, the availability of the materials does not seem to be a problem, whilst training is provided on internet forums. In other words, we need to be prepared.

To optimize preparedness, it is important to understand which agents might be used and how. Mr. Bonsen provided valuable insights at the hand of three Airport Impact Modelling scenarios, analysing the possibilities in which different types of agents could be used in different manners. This offered the audience an opportunity to understand what can be expected and how an attack would occur.

Mr. Bonsen concluded his presentation by emphasizing that the calculations of the different models show a high casualty rate for different scenarios IF they remain unprotected. State-of-the-art detection equipment that is strategically located can save lives. Additionally, filtration in Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems can also reduce the number of casualties. Lastly, it is important to remember the importance of developing and implementing a coherent CBRNe strategy and train staff accordingly on effective evacuation plans.

Ilja Bonsen has studied Political Science and International Relations at Leiden University and Business Administration at Rotterdam School of Management and Corvinus University in Budapest. Ilja acts as Managing Director at IB Consultancy. IB Consultancy is an independent defense and security company dedicated to make this world a safer and more secure place. To achieve this, we provide rapid, innovative defense and security solutions to government, and trade & industry. Our services include:

  • Defense and Security Project Management and Research Consultancy including specialist competences in CBRNe and IED.
  • Organization of worldwide defense and security events.
  • Business Consultancy and Public Affairs to assist companies with their optimal business development strategies in the defense and security markets.