AVSEC Global Symposium 2021 opens: high-profile speaker line up highlights strengthening aviation security amid pandemic challenges

DUBAI, UAE, 3 October 2021: The 5th edition of AVSEC Global Symposium kicked off today, bringing together globally recognised security experts, local and international government officials, policymakers and high-calibre professionals from across the aviation security industry. The three-day Symposium will host 35 speakers and over 700 delegates from more than 50 countries.

AVSEC 2021 was officially opened earlier today by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive Emirates Airline & Group, and the event was attended by His Excellency Juan Carlos Salazar, Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation

Organisation; The Honourable Robert Courts, United Kingdom Parliamentary Undersecretary of State at the Department of Transport; His Excellency Cherubin Okende, Minister of Transport in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; His Excellency Saif Mohammad Al Suwaidi, Director General of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), H.E Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of Police and General Security in Dubai, in addition to other dignitaries and embassy officials representing a number of countries.

This edition of AVSEC highlights ICAO’s 'Year of Security Culture', which seeks to holistically promote security across all aspects of aviation operations as the industry recovers. AVSEC 2021 is hosting 38 engaging sessions and workshops that will highlight current topics in aviation security, such as environment security, managing fraud risk, wildlife trafficking, cargo and K9 security, innovation in law enforcement, and more.

In his keynote address, the newly appointed Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization, Juan Carlos Salazar said: “The pandemic has posed many challenges, and taught us new lessons, driving us to adapt and evolve to maintain secure operations under very demanding circumstances. As operators continue to recover from its impact, we have been presented with another opportunity to rethink our approach and update our strategies, and above all to stay flexible and responsive as international air transport recovers to redefine itself as threats continue to evolve. ICAO is proud to serve as a nexus of strategic global partnerships and effective government and industry cooperation in support of these important efforts.”

The Honourable Robert Courts, United Kingdom Parliamentary Undersecretary of State at the Department of Transport said: “Over the last 18 months, we have fought a different threat to public safety. The pandemic has reminded us of the interdependence of the global community. Out of adversity was the opportunity to work together, and that international cooperation was vital to maintain safety in the skies. ‘Security Culture’ has remained a common theme this year, and without doubt, it amplifies and complements existing security measures and underpins everything we do.”

Dr Abdullah Al Hashimi, Divisional Senior Vice President of Emirates Group Security (EGS) said: “The AVSEC Global Symposium organised by EGS has become synonymous with knowledge sharing, inspiring new ideas and connecting minds across the industry. Disruptive thinkers and decision-makers from around the globe come together with a unanimous goal of learning, sharing experiences and improving practices as a whole. This year, by partnering with Dubai Expo 2020 and other leading aviation organisations, we have ensured that even with the current challenges the world faces, our event remains relevant and impactful.” Among the notable speakers at year’s AVSEC Symposium are Anita Hazenberg, Director INTERPOL Innovation Centre who will speak about the organization’s approach to innovation; Dr Norman Ricklefs on Complex Systems and Aviation Security; Professor James L. Regens, Director University of Oklahoma Centre for Intelligence and National Security who will cover the topic of Building a Sustainable Security Culture; Captain Cyrano Latiff on Contingency Response – A Survivor's Perspective; Bruce Dorris on Managing Fraud Risk and Matthew Vaughan on Developing New Talent.

The first day of the AVSEC Symposium will wrap up with an aircraft hijacking simulation conducted by Emirates Group Security’s Aircrew Training team in partnership with the UAE Presidential Guard Special Forces.

The event’s gala dinner will include the Excellence Awards, which recognise individuals who have demonstrated outstanding performance in their roles, and organisations for significant advancements and contributions to the global aviation security industry. Furthermore, 12 diverse workshops ranging from cybersecurity, future of AI, to modelling risk management will be held for the attendees during the last day of the Symposium, wrapping up an action-packed event. Delegates will also be able to visit Expo 2020 Dubai during the event, to round off their Dubai experience.

Organised by Emirates Group Security, AVSEC Global 2021 is being held from 3-5 October at the JW Marriott Marquis, Dubai. Held since 2013, the AVSEC Global Symposium is one of the most significant aviation security events in the region and one of the biggest globally, attracting influential leaders, elite thinkers, security solution innovators, and world-renowned experts to discuss the latest developments in the field.

Past editions of the event have helped bolster discussions around sensitive but essential topics like human trafficking, cybersecurity threats in aviation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), integrating blockchain technology in the aviation supply chain, challenging and shifting the way the industry approaches these issues.

This year’s AVSEC Symposium has also provided support offering all-expense paid packages to professionals and industry leaders from developing countries to participate, learn, network and benefit from the Symposium, supporting ICAO's philosophy of 'No Country Left Behind'.

About Emirates Group Security:
Emirates Group Security is a multi-faceted organisation that develops and implements security strategies and measures, and provides a variety of security services. Part of the Emirates Group, it employs more than 470 staff directly and over 2,600 security staff through its service partner Transguard Group (TG).

Emirates Group Security extends its special aviation security services beyond Emirates to other airlines that operate in and out of Dubai International airport on a commercial basis. Emirates Group Security’s commitment to excellence is demonstrated by its strict adherence to its Quality Management System conforming to ISO 9001:2015 standards. For over five years, they have been the proud winners of the Dubai Quality Award – Gold, and most recently, the Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Award – Gold.